Sunday, April 30, 2006

121st district race

Bob Reilly finally got a site up ( thanks Mark). Christine Katsock is the only one not joining the internet age.

Bob Reilly

Brian O'Donnell

Eddie Pashinski

Ed Hayward

117th District candidates

The Times-Leader has profiles of all the candidates running in the 117th district race to succeed George Hasay. They all agree that the tax mix must be changed to reduce property taxes. Be it expand the sales tax or increase the state income tax. Some highlights.

Eugene M. Stavitzski

"I'm not going to have an ad on TV saying, 'Vote for me, and I'll shine your shoes.' That's why I'm trying to do it without fund-raisers. I don't want to have to owe anybody."

Most important challenge facing the district: School property taxes

How you would tackle the issue, be specific: The two possible solutions would be a wage-based tax or expanding the sales tax. By eliminating the school property tax, Pennsylvania would bring a lot more business into our state.

Karen Boback

Most important challenge facing the district: An antiquated tax system. This is a cornerstone issue because it is linked to so many other challenges that we face. Effective tax reform can have a positive impact on property value, personal savings, business investment, job growth, and even health care. If we don’t find solutions to our inadequate, unfair, and imbalanced tax system, we can expect increased flight from our area not only by businesses, but particularly among our best and brightest – also known as the brain-drain.
Increasing or broadening the tax base through the use of a sales tax will provide a more fair and equitable approach and result in relief for those less able to pay taxes. This would lift the financial burden off our seniors, farmers, businesses, and homeowners in general.

How you would tackle the issue, be specific: I would work tirelessly for effective tax reform and the elimination of school property tax. I would support a variation on the sales tax which would provide greater equity for taxpayers. Our current tax structure is too reliant on property values which very often are not a fair reflection of the ability to pay taxes. Homes, farms, and properties which have been in families for years and may have been paid off, do not reflect an accurate view of the property owner’s wealth and ability to pay taxes, particularly school property taxes.


Stanford E. Davis

"There've been so many things that seem that Harrisburg has gone off track. They lost focus of the people. That’s one of the things I think I can take back."

Most important challenge facing the district: Property tax reform

How you would tackle the issue, be specific: Property taxes can be significantly reduced or eliminated with an expansion of the sales tax. There are several proposals that have been debated. However, the sales tax proposal makes the most sense and is the most equitable for all. This takes the burden off of property owners and spreads it evenly across all consumers.


Michael McCormick

Most important challenge facing the district: Property taxes

How you would tackle the issue, be specific: The answer lies in expanding the state sales tax to other goods or slightly increasing it across the board. As representative, I would push for the creation of an advisory committee made up of Pennsylvania tax specialists and experts from states that have eliminated property taxes in recent years. The committee would be tasked with finding the most equitable solution and also with gaining a sense of the public’s response to various solutions.


Edmund Sichler Jr.

"They want young people, fresh faces, new and good ideas," he said. "It's a plus that I have not served (in public office). I’m not in with anybody."

Most important challenge facing the district: Property tax reform

How you would tackle the issue, be specific: It is essential to consider all revenue streams available and determine how to best maximize them with the least amount of impact on the residents of the district. I would reform the manner in which our school systems are currently funded. Currently, property taxes are the sole supporter of schools. I propose income and sales taxes be re-evaluated and used as a source of revenue for school operations. I plan to support legislation that will help to address property tax reform.


Randy Tomasacci

"Whatever happens (on primary election day), I'm going trout fishing the next day. I'm going up in the mountains, listening to the water, relax."

Most important challenge facing the district: The reduction of property taxes.

How would you tackle the issue, be specific: I will advocate for change in the sales and state income tax rates, cut spending and use gaming revenues.

Leonardi on the air

Republican candidate for the 11th Congressional District Joe Leonardi has a hard hitting ad up about the river and the inflatable dam that is running on Service Electric. I hope to have link to it up soon.

The CV has a piece today:

Citing concerns ranging from degradation of wildlife habitat to a financial burden on taxpayers, two environmental groups are urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny Luzerne County’s request to construct a $14 million inflatable dam on the Susquehanna River.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

More on Limbaugh

The Daily Rant sums it up.

The War on Drugs is over: Drugs won

Look, I doubt Pennsylvania legislators, lawmakers in other states or Congress are prepared to legalize pot, give recreational users a get-out-of-jail-free card or even lift the unreasonably dranconian measure that prevents convicted pot smokers from getting college grants.
But the least the Legislature can do is spend the additional money Corbett wants where it will do the most good - in prevention education and providing free addiction treatment to anyone who wants it.
Nothing underscores that more than the plea deal conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh cut Friday following a three-year investigation by Florida into his illicit prescription drug use. Under its terms, Limbaugh will plead guilty to just a single charge of prescription fraud - and even that will be dropped if Limbaugh continues treatment for his painkiller addiction. He also agreed to pay the state $30,000 to defray the public cost of the investigation and must pay $30 per month for the cost of supervision, during which time he will continue regular drug tests. If that deal was good enough for the Florida state attorney's office - no stranger to prosecuting drug users, then lawmakers here should force Corbett and county prosecutors to save Pennsylvania taxpayers a fortune by striking similar agreements with recreational drug users.The state could then save on drug investigation costs and pay officers overtime for doing other duties.

Treating drug users, rather than incarcerating them and cutting off their chances to improve themselves, would let us all retreat from this battlefield with some honor intact.

Left Independent is also a great resource on this issue.

Dr. Rick on Rush

Dr. Rick of the American Check-up asked me to post his reaction to the Rush Windbag drug thing. I asked him why but he has not answered yet. Well, I'm always willing to help out a blog buddy. Here it is:

The plea deal reached by Rush Limbaugh and his attorneys brings up serious issues among the conservative party and base. You see, I am against favoritism in the media, press, and party coteries. Rush, however, seems to be exempt from the criticisms that would be afforded of lesser Americans from the likes of O'Reilly and Hannity for example.

Where is the O'Reilly banter about how Rush got off because he is who he is and that drug dealing is bad? I have also recently explained that I am ardently in favor of the US going all out in its war on drugs, which pails in comparison to the war on terror (the results are similar, respectively).

Where is the outrage against Americas number 1 anchorman? Granted, he does impress me on a daily basis and his show is great, all things considered. But why are the conservatives soft on their man? Drudge ran a news report about, nothing much of interest. It would seem that the only media who sees this a story is the liberal media - as they should.

Drugs are no positive example to beset forth upon your audience. Neither is sexual predatory activity, right Mr. O'Reilly? It would seem that other than myself and Mr. Hannity, there is a code of silence among wrongdoers who themselves must feel guilty about the misfortunes that befall them.

Rush even asserted Democrats may be responsible for much of the hype and even called his civil rights violated (he didn't contact the ACLU for council). If any of the AIRHEAD America liberals faced similar charges, they would be slashed on the air.

Call Michael Savage a renegade if you will, but he deserves some respect for not popping pills though he pops off at the mouth. I must say that O'Reilly is my favorite but Rush is most entertaining. Both have let me down in those regards. I'm not calling for some boycott of the two. I'm just raising eyebrows about why they're exempt from being on the dishonor roll?

A tip of the helmet to Jesus General for the pic.


WILKES-BARRE -The Luzerne County Election Bureau can't issue absentee ballots for the primary election on May 16 until the state Supreme Court rules whether Dallas Mayor Tim Carroll can be on the ballot, said Leonard Piazza, the bureau’s director.
Carroll has appealed a Commonwealth Court ruling bumping him from the ballot as a state House candidate for the 117th District.
"We needed to know two weeks ago," Piazza said
. And until the bureau learns the final court decision, it can't program its new ATM-like voting machines, either.

Iraq war vet James May has already been knocked off the ballot and is waging a write-in campaign. The other Republican candidates are Eugene Stavitzski, Michael McCormick, Karen Boback, Randy Tomasacci, Edmund Sichler Jr. and Stanford Davis. The winner will face Democrat Fred Nichols in the fall.

The Luzerne County Election Bureau is busy training all involved on the new machines but can't set the ballot until the court rules. This has the makings of a disaster. The only reason we are dealing with this is because Florida couldn't conduct an election in 2000. We have had many close elections but in the end they were settled by a recount of our long serving lever machines. The obvious solution is to use paper ballots for elections but why do that when you can use a $3000 machine to do the same thing?

If you want to see the beasts before you vote they will be on display at the Wyoming Valley Mall Saturday, . noon to 5 p.m Sunday noon to 5 p.m . Then again from 5 to 9 p.m. May 5, noon to 5 p.m. May 6, and noon to 5 p.m. May 7.

Local campaigning

I just received a phone call that asked me who I'm going to vote for in the 121st District State Rep race. When I said I hadn't decided the girl told me what a wonderful guy Eddie Day Pashinski is and asked me to vote for him. I'm not sure but it sounded like a paid telemarketer since she did not identify herself, read from a script and didn't wait for my reaction. Last week I got a call from a young man with an Irish sounding name asking about Brian O'Donnell. In the who has largest signs contest Bob Reilly has big ones all over the place. Jim Hayward has some yard signs out and I found a flyer of his left in my screen door. As I wander around town I have been seeing many Christine Katsock signs-the only Republican in the race. That's not too surprising as she has been involved in local issues for a long time. When she was running for school director a few years ago she knocked on my door and gave me a sponge with her name on it. I still have it.

Carney responds to Sherwood interview

From a press release:


Chris Carney Responds

Clarks Summit, Pa.-In a recent interview with WNEP-TV, Don Sherwood seriously distorted his record in Congress. Chris Carney was not invited to participate in the WNEP primary candidate interviews.

Below, Chris Carney responds to Sherwood's distortions:

1. "It is Congress's job to support our troops," said Sherwood in the interview.

-"It is Congress's job to support our troops abroad and at home, but Don Sherwood along with this Congress and this administration have not given them the support they deserve," said Chris Carney.

-"I had a student who was in a Pennsylvania Guard Transport unit. He told me they had to scrounge in Iraqi junk yards to find scrap metal to weld onto their trucks to gain even a modicum of protection. This is unacceptable," said Chris Carney.

_"In Iraq, the administration knew that there would be an insurgency, yet did nothing to prepare for it-too few troops, not the best armor, not the right vehicles, and not the best pay or healthcare. Our troops deserve the best support, period. They fight for us. I will fight for them. Don Sherwood has not," said Chris Carney.

2. "My strongest accomplishment was when we voted in the prescription drug for seniors bill," said Sherwood.

-"“On May 15th, Congress is set to impose a Medicare Penalty Tax on all those seniors who are taking their well-deserved time to research their options under the new plan," said Carney.

-"Congress messed up the transition to the new program, and denied many seniors coverage in January. Now seniors are facing Don Sherwood's Medicare Penalty Tax? This is unacceptable," said Carney.

3. Sherwood said we must "preserve Social Security for all time."

-"Don Sherwood has gone on the record saying that the government will not be able to keep its promises to seniors -I believe in a better America, where we keep our promises to our seniors," said Carney.

-"Just last Spring, Don Sherwood stumped for President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, which could have endangered all our retirements. Unlike Don Sherwood, I will not abandon our seniors," said Carney.

Chris Carney is a veteran of multiple foreign military operations, a Lt. Commander in the Navy Reserve, and an Associate Professor at Penn State, focusing on U.S. security policy. Carney also served as a senior advisor on counter-terrorism and intelligence at the Pentagon from 2003 to 2005.

When pigs fly

Lt. Governor candidate Gene Stilp brought his traveling inflatable porkers to Luzerne County yesterday. They made an appearance outside the office of retiring State Sen. Charlie Lemmond who surprisingly enough was nowhere to be found.

DALLAS - Gene Stilp's pension piglet was listing a little to the left. But the big pay-raise pig was standing tall. Stilp, a Wilkes-Barre native and longtime political activist, was on his "Squeal or No Squeal" statewide tour, where he parks his inflatable pigs near the office of legislators who haven't returned the money from last year's aborted pay raise......The pig is sort of old hat for Stilp, but his race for lieutenant governor isn't. The Democrat is running to unseat Catherine Baker Knoll in the primary May 16. He's out to change what he calls a "culture of greed" in Harrisburg, but he's also out to replace a 75-year-old lieutenant governor he says is incapable of filling the role of governor if need be.

"She's one cheese steak away from the governorship," Stilp said ..... before pumping up the pigs in the Back Mountain. "She's incapable of stepping into the shoes of Ed Rendell. It's that serious. The judgment is not there."

The other challengers, Valerie McDonald Roberts and William A.Hall, III, were interviewed by WNEP recently. You can see the video here. All 3 are due in Scranton Monday for a League of Women Voters forum. CBK said she can't make it.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Slots for all

Or we all love Mohegan sun. The CV has a glowing story about slots at Pocono Downs. On the one hand I'm not against people gambling. But I'm very much opposed to the bill of goods that has been sold to us. Too many ifs. If the the slots generate as much revenue as anticipated then we just might get a break on our property taxes. If they keep people from going to Atlantic City to gamble we will benefit. If there is good oversite shady characters will be kept out. Well the oversite thing hasn't worked so far. One of the people charged with that duty has been involved in a murder. You can't stop people from gambling, just like you can't stop people from taking drugs. If you are going to legalize one vice, take a look at the others.


Event Schedule & Details: 2:00 - 6:00 PMPurchase advance tickets here.

Appalachian Brewing CompanyUpstairs in the Abbey Bar50 N. Cameron St.Harrisburg, PA 17101


More information:

Free parking in the ABC lot at Walnut and 10th Streets.

About the Swing States Road Show and a special offer!Download a free WoodChuck '06 poster here.

10th CD Republicans

The 10th Congressional district that includes part of the west side of Luzerne County and all or part of 12 others has 2 Republicans bidding for the nomination. WNEP has posted interviews with them and a host of others running for various offices. I doubt if I will get to them all before the primary but I will try to summarize as many as I can.

First up is incumbent Don Sherwood. When asked why he is running he said there is a lot more to do. His priority is bring jobs to NEPA and claims to have had some success. He also listed as his priorities as protecting seniors and the homeland. As far as the war goes he supports our troops and the President and claims to have secured more money for personal and vehicle armor. He said health care is the most intractable problem he has ever had to deal with. His strongest accomplishment is the new Medicare drug plan and securing better reimbursements for area hospitals. On agriculture he claims credit for better price supports for the dairy farmers. He said we have always been a "little short changed on jobs." Then he talked about getting a contract for Lockheed -Martin to build laser guided bombs and keeping the Tobyhanna Army Depot open. It was interesting that Scott Schaffer didn't ask him about the stroke' em and choke'em lawsuit.

His primary opponent Kathy Scott wasn't so shy. She stated that Don Sherwood is a great example of why we need change in Washington. His personal/private morality and ethics don't represent us well. She doesn't want someone representing her who settled a $5 million lawsuit with his 29 year old mistress because of domestic violence. Then she blasted him for taking millions from PACS and special interests. He takes money from the oil industry and votes their interest, not ours, when people are having trouble paying heating bills and ever rising prices at the pump. She said "the country is going in the wrong direction." On the the economy she is concerned about deficit spending saying the $8.2 trillion debt opens the US to economic blackmail by other countries. She advocates changes to tax and trade policies that result in outsourcing of American jobs. On the war she asked how we can pour so much money into Iraq and our troops don't have adequate armor. She advocates an exit strategy saying the war is unwinnable. This has turned into a civil war and we should stop sacrificing our troops. On domestic issues she wants to provide health care for all our people and opposes privatizing Social Security. She also points out that people have to save for retirement. She wants to see our borders secured to stem illegal immigration and wants the laws enforced that punish employers for hiring illegals.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Infrequent blogger and regular commenter Bill Fitz gives his predictions of the local races that seem to come more from his heart than his head. From My Take:

I just have some last minute observations about NEPA politics

Sichler wins the 117th

Mike Carrol and Author Broubine win their primaries and it can be close in November for the 118th

O'Donnell wins his primary for the 121st and Katsock can win if she focuses on his Sciencetology

Chake will win in the 120th primary and can beat Mundy

Haggerty wins the 20 with a plurality with baker coming in 2nd. The fractured back Mountain and Maderia's efforts in the sticks spoil it for Baker.

that's it for now I hope I am right about at least one prediction.

Another endorsement

Urban endorses Madeira

Luzerne County Commissioner Stephen A. Urban, the only Republican commissioner, is supporting Dr. David Madeira in the upcoming 20th Senatorial District primary. The minority commissioner joins former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey in endorsing Madeira. In a letter sent to The Citizens' Voice, Urban said Madeira impressed him in terms of his family values and his strong support for the Second Amendment. "Because David Madeira does not represent any political groups deeply entrenched in Harrisburg or have well-connected special interest benefactors, he will make decisions based on what is good for the people of Pennsylvania," Urban stated in the letter. He also called Madeira an "independent voice that will restore economic prosperity to Pennsylvania."

I don't think endorsements count for much but add this one to Pat Toomey, Wayne County attorney Errol Flynn and the Eagle Forum. Lisa Baker has a long list of endorsements including former Gov. Ridge. Jim Haggerty lists a few on his site. Russ Bigus says he has the sportsmen and Carl Sutton stands on his own. The only Democrat in the race, Robert McNamara, isn't playing that game.

118th District debate

A couple of less than comprehensive write-ups in the papers about the 118th District State Rep candidates debate held at Pittston HS last night. The 118th includes parts of Luzerne and Monroe Counties. James Spinola had the best lines of the night according to both the CV and TL.

YATESVILLE — James Spinola's best line left the audience speechless.

"I think the pay raise was great," the state House candidate said of the repealed legislative pay hike that sparked a voters' rebellion last summer. The auditorium at Pittston Area High School felt silent before Spinola finished his thought. "I think it woke up the voters," he said. "They were testing our short-term memory."......Mike Carroll, a Democrat and chief of staff for state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, said he learned how to navigate Harrisburg when he worked under former Gov. Robert Casey and about constituent service in his current job.
In his closing remarks, he highlighted an endorsement from the incumbent Tigue, which could both help and hurt Carroll during the May 16 primary election. That dual effect was apparent in the response from Spinola, who spoke next. "This race shouldn't be about who the candidate knows. … The issues are too important to make this a popularity contest."

The worst quote came from Art Bobbouine, a Republican and the Luzerne County chief deputy sheriff, wants to use his law enforcement background to make fighting crime and drug use a top priority in the area. He called for mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug offenders.

We have been doing that for 50 years Art and the drug problem is worse than ever.

The Democrats in the race are Mike Carroll of Avoca and Terry Best and James O'Brien of Pittston. O'Brien and Best are Pittston Area School directors. Republicans include Spinola, an architect from Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County; Bobbouine of Pittston, and Chestnuthill Supervisor Maureen Tatu.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

As seen on TV

I haven't seen this yet but I doubt if a TV ad is going to change perceptions.

WILKES-BARRE - It starts with a panoramic shot from across the Susquehanna River.
"This is the City of Wilkes-Barre," Mayor Tom Leighton says, "where public safety is our number one priority."....The spot touts the $10 million a year the city spends on public safety and asks residents to believe in a "safe future." It features still images of Leighton, members of his administrative staff and police officers.....Leighton, citing police statistics, told them crime in February was down 12 percent from the year before and drug arrests were up by more than 80 percent. That's part of the message the television spot is designed to get out, Leighton said, discussing the commercial. He called it a "safety message," boasting the work of the police and fire departments.

"I think we've made a big dent," Leighton said.

Radio Daze

This letter to the editor appeared today in the CV. It was written by an old friend and Green Party activist Jim Spak.


I am writing to remind readers that all radio stations in Pennsylvania have recently applied to the Federal Communications Commission to renew their broadcast licenses. People who wish to comment on the performance of specific stations have until May 1 to submit their opinions to the FCC.There are at least three local stations whose records I feel the need to comment upon.The first is WRKC, 88.5 FM, King's College. Last November, after 15 years of volunteering my service, and after nine years of airing several nationally syndicated independent political programs, WRKC general manager Sue Henry saw fit to remove "RadioNation," "CounterSpin" and "Making Contact" from the airwaves because she disagreed with their political opinions. After I complained to college officials about her actions, they saw no need to reverse her decision. Where is the respect for free speech, free press and academic freedom when acts of censorship are allowed to stand? How can a college sanction such behavior and still profess to teach its students about democracy?The second station is WCLH, 90.7 FM, Wilkes University. I wish to thank the good people at WCLH for having the courage and insight to pick up "Making Contact" and "CounterSpin" (Saturdays from 11 a.m. to noon) after they were dropped by King's. Also, I wish to commend them for carrying "Democracy Now!" (weekdays from 11 a.m. to noon). We need more honest, independent and gutsy journalists like these to counteract the growing power of the military, economic and political elites in the United States if we are to reclaim our democracy. Lastly, I wish to critique the performance of WILK radio, 980 AM. With a radical right-wing lineup that features Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other apologists for the corporate agenda, they and their kind have done more damage to democracy and freedom in our country and around the world than more people realize. People who wish to comment to the FCC about the above-mentioned stations, or any others, can submit a letter in writing to:Marlene H. Dortch, SecretaryFederal Communications Commission Office of the Secretary445 12th St. SW Washington, D.C. 20554 The deadline to submit comments is May 1.

Jim Spak

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Who endorsed who? Or Not

John Micek at Capitol Ideas tries to sort it out:

Those of you who pay attention to such things may have noticed that there has been some debate as to whether Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann endorsed the re-election of Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, last weekend.Well, at last, the truth can be told.

He has the story here.

Lisa gets the cops, Haggerty writes their checks

From a Lisa Baker press release:

DALLAS - The Baker for Senate campaign is pleased to announce that LisaBaker, Republican candidate for State Senator, received the unanimous endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, Wyoming Valley Lodge #36. Lodge #36 represents members of local police departments in throughoutLuzerne County.
"After careful consideration of Lisa's background and qualifications, our decision was helped by the many local officers and elected officials who stand behind her integrity and commitment," said Ron Rebo, president ofWyoming Valley Lodge #36.
"We appreciate Lisa's long history of working productively with the law enforcement community and her understanding of the issues that are important to us and the communities we serve." said Joe Mangan, lodge vice president.

Norton has Haggerty's reaction:

I am the only candidate who has more police officers on street, created special units for narcotics, and led a department that is recognized throughout the state as a powerful anti-drug force.

Carney gaining, Sherwood tanking

I got an email alert from our friends at Politics PA about a new poll in the 10th Congressional District from an outfit called Momentum Analysis, LLC.

From the press release:

Our recent polling results show clear evidence of Congressman Don Sherwood’s vulnerability. Not only is Sherwood weak, but his unpopularity is amplified by President Bush's failures, even in a district like Pennsylvania’s 10th CD that has historically been Republican and conservative. This environment yields a strong showing for Democratic challenger Chris Carney, who is within clear striking distance of an incumbent who voters feel does not share their values, and is too closely aligned with a weak President.

The key points of the poll:

-Carney trails Sherwood by just 6 points with 43%. Sherwood currently polls at 48%, with 8% undecided.

- 27% of the respondents say they would vote to replace Sherwood while only 21% say they would vote to re-elect Sherwood.

- 57% of respondents gave Sherwood a negative job performance rating of either "only fair" or "poor." More than 48% of Republicans polled evaluated his job performance negatively.

-President Bush’s net unfavorable is 54% versus favorable at 43%.- 65% of the voters say the country is on the wrong track versus 27% who say the country is on the right track.

Some other tidbits:

Voters feel key positive traits are least descriptive of Sherwood. Barely more than one in ten feel "honest" or "has traditional family values" describe Sherwood "very well" (13% and 12%, respectively). Astoundingly, the phrase we tested that describes Sherwood least well is “shares your values” (12% describes very well). Many political professionals and handicappers view a candidate’s performance on this dimension as one of the key predictors of their success. That even Republicans are more likely to feel Sherwood is an embarrassment (18% "describes very well") than that he shares their values (16%), shows how weak Sherwood's chances are this November.

Another measure of Sherwood's weakness is the so-called re-elect question, where no opponent is named. When asked whether they would vote to re-elect Sherwood, whether they'd consider someone else, or vote to replace him, a plurality (33%) said they were not sure. Notably, more said they would vote to replace him (27%) than would vote to re-elect him (21%), and another 18% said they would consider someone else.

121st District candidate interview

The Times-Leader is running a series of interviews with the candidates hoping to succeed Kevin Blaum in the district encompassing Ashley, Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre Township, Plains Township and parts of Hanover Township. They have also posted the audio from the candidates in this race and the 20th State Senate District contest here.

In a less than flattering piece the in the TL Eddie Day Pashinski discusses health care costs:

Eddie Pashinski wants you to know he believes in doing the right thing. He also believes the cost of health care and oil are crushing the middle class. That’s clear...
Things get a little less clear when it comes down to what he plans to do about it if elected to the state House of Representatives in the 121st Legislative District...."I think we are in very tough shape in this country." In large part, that’s because of health-care and insurance costs the government has refused to rein in, he said. The soaring cost of petroleum products is also a growing wedge consuming an ever larger portion of the middle class budget, he said.
But when pressed about how he might change that in Harrisburg, specifics eluded him.
He called for a "grassroots" movement to force legislators to work to regulate the health-care industry...He was unable to explain how he would trim oil costs, although he said the situation was much like the problem with health care and insurance.

Pashinski also cited crime in the district as an acute problem. "We have had a terrific spike in crime," he said, speculating that as much as 90 percent is drug-related. He called for an investment in early-education programs to teach young children lessons about drugs before they become involved. "The earlier we can get them and the longer we can have them, the chances are we'll be better able to protect these kids," Pashinski said.

As I noted earlier he has a TV ad running that you can view at his website. Maybe it's just nostalgia but I'm inclined to give him a hearing. The buzz that I hear is that this is between O'Donnell and Reilly but who knows. Pashinski makes this claim on his site:

Early research shows that Eddie is poised to win with a plurality.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Eddie Day and TnT

I just saw a TV ad for Eddie Day Pashinski on Ch. 28 news. I didn't think he had that much money. Brian O'Donnell had one following it. He has the money and Ed Mitchell.


Not that Tatu.

Chestnuthill Township supervisor Maureen Tatu, a Republican running for state representative in the 118th District, announces that she has a new Web site:

Debate Wednesday

The League of Women Voters chapter in the Wilkes-Barre area is hosting a debate among candidates for state representative in the 118th district on Wednesday, April 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Pittston High School. Candidates who were invited to participate are: Democrats Mike Carroll of Avoca; Terry Best and James "Red" O’Brien, both of Pittston; and Republicans Art Bobbouine of Pittston; Maureen Tatu and James Spinola, both of Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County.

James Spinola is the the only other candidate that has a website that I know of:

If the other candidates have a site let me know. Mike Carroll has been the only one on TV and it let's you know he is Yuddy's chief of staff and has had many other public service jobs.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Thank you

I recently noticed that I have been doing this blog thing for one year now. My first post was about the Phillies losing again, not much has changed. At first I was going to stick to baseball but the political animal took over. There were plenty of people doing national issues so I decided to toss my two cents in about Luzerne County and Pennsylvania politics.

At first it was great to get 20 or 30 hits a day. Now Gort42 sometimes has hundreds of visitors a day. I have made many new friends doing this and have dealt with some rude jerks but it has been a good ride so far.

So thanks to all who have visited and a big THANK YOU to all who have taken the time to leave a comment.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Truth in advertising

Brad Ideas has a good suggestion:

Nascar Stickers for Political leaders

We all know that racecar drivers wear jumpsuits plastered with the logos of the companies that have sponsored them.
Why not have the same system for members of the legislature? When they vote on bills, they would need to wear a suit with patches from Halliburton, Exxon, AT&T or any other companies that have given them major contributions. Larger contribution, larger patch.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Reaction to VT candidate returning Sherwood's money

WILLISTON -Republican U.S. House candidate Martha Rainville announced late Tuesday that she will return a $1,000 campaign contribution from a congressman involved in a lawsuit alleging domestic violence.

Republican candidate Kathy Scott said in an email to me:

Ms. Rainville is distancing herself from Don Sherwood's admittedly dishonest and allegedly abusive actions. I hope the voters in PA District 10 will do the same thing when they go to vote in the May 16th Primary Election.

She also told the CV: "I'm glad that at least the people of Vermont, and hopefully the people of Pennsylvania, are understanding Sherwood's values and distancing herself," Scott, 59, said Thursday. "They don't want to be associated with a person who lives his life and has these kinds of ethics … If he was innocent, he should have fought the lawsuit."

In a press release Democrat Chris Carney also blasted Sherwood:

"Ms. Rainville is making the right choice by returning Don Sherwood’s tainted money," said Chris Carney.

"The more Republicans learn about Don Sherwood's moral lapses, the allegations of abuse of women and his secret deals, the more they are going to turn away from him and return his tainted money," said Carney. "The more they learn about him the more they are going to look for new leadership that will bring Pennsylvania's values to Washington, not the other way around."

"Republicans, independents and Democrats want someone who will make them proud again- not someone who has become an embarrassment to the families of Pennsylvania, and now Vermont as well."

Efforts to reach Rainville and Sherwood were unsuccessful.

Nathan Wurtzel, the treasurer for Don's PAC, said the committee has not received the check Rainville was returning and had not received any refunds from any of the other congressional candidates it gave money. "Congressman Sherwood directed this contribution … in order to strengthen and expand the Republican House majority," Wurtzel said in a prepared statement he read over the phone. "It is regrettable that the decision to return the contribution was based on a false accusation from a civil court case that was dismissed six months ago."

Bob Casey Blog

Greg at Keystone Politics has started a pro Casey blog with the creative title of Bob Casey Blog. He states his reasons:

So what is this thing, anyway?

Recently I've been a bit dismayed at the lack of information and grassroots support for Bob Casey, who most expect to be the Democratic nominee to challenge Rick Santorum in this fall's election. As the publisher of Keystone Politics, I know how valuable such resources can be for a candidate and his supporters.

The Bob Casey Blog is a place where supporters and voters can learn more about Bob Casey and discuss why we think he's the best choice for Senator this fall.

As always, it's important to hear from you. If you've got something to post on the blog or simply want to send along comments, please e-mail me. Also, if you're a current blogger and would like to contribute on a recurring basis, please contact me and we can get you set up!

121st District candidate interviews

The Times-Leader is running a series of interviews with the candidates hoping to succeed Kevin Blaum in the district encompassing Ashley, Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre Township, Plains Township and parts of Hanover Township. They have also posted the audio from the candidates in this race and the 20th State Senate District contest here.

First up was Jim Hayward former Wilkes-Barre firefighter and city administrator who now practices law. The highlight of his interview was a proposal to expand the sales tax to pay for property tax relief. Increasing taxes on food and services is certainly not a popular idea but if you are going to cut property taxes the money has to be made up somewhere.

WILKES-BARRE - Property tax relief; it sounds like music to a homeowner's ears. ...What’s Jim Hayward’s answer, or a least part of it? Tax food.

He ranked property tax relief as his number two priority. It’s right behind attacking the crime and drugs .... "I don't know if anyone has the one right answer," said Hayward. He has high hopes that slot gambling in the state will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year... But if that’s not enough, he suggests broader sales tax. The state imposes a 6 percent state sales tax, but exemptions include food, clothing, prescription drugs, textbooks, and residential heating fuels. Hayward wants to remove the exemption for food and open up professional services to the sales tax... It may be possible to decrease the 6 percent tax if the scope of taxable items were expanded, he said.

Wilkes-Barre Area School Director Brian O'Donnell stated the obvious about drugs and crime and pledged to provide more money to local law enforcement.

W-B-Brian O’Donnell said Wilkes-Barre area residents don't feel as safe as they did in the past, which is why he listed public safety, crime and drugs as the top three issues he'd address if elected...O’Donnell said he would look for ways to help local police departments acquire better vehicles and equipment...He'd also get the state Attorney General's Office more involved because the agency is "wonderful in aiding local police." O’Donnell said he wants to change Pennsylvania's distinction as the only state that doesn't allow local municipalities and law enforcement to use radar to nab speeding motorists. He likes New York City’s approach of tackling low-level criminals to crack into bigger criminal activity. O'Donnell's also a supporter of a more regional approach to policing but knows the idea is a tough sell to individual departments.

Luzerne County Clerk of Courts Bob Reilly (no website) wants more gambling.

W-B- Bob Reilly is not shy about tipping his hand. Would he support a gambling expansion from slots to table games? Definitely, said Reilly...How about legal sports betting? He'd consider it.
"Let’s face it. People gamble," he said Everyday state residents leave Pennsylvania to gamble in Atlantic City or at American Indian-run casinos in New England, and they're not just pulling slot levers. Expanding Pennsylvania gambling to include the table games and possibly sports betting would only increase the state's revenue stream, Reilly said.

Politicians are eying that money to fund property tax relief and economic development initiatives. Reilly suggested expanded gambling revenue could also be harnessed to solidify state pension funds that could be stressed in the future....But if Pennsylvania offered sports betting it would put the Keystone State in league with just one other-Nevada...Sports betting is a more than $125 million-a-year industry in Nevada, and even though it's illegal in Pennsylvania Reilly said it's happening everyday.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tony Soprano agrees with that Senator Sanatorium

I guess this was a hard act to follow for the Democratic candidates.

PDN: SEN. RICK Santorum and HBO's fictional mob boss Tony Soprano have a lot in common.

On Sunday night's episode of "The Sopranos," Tony (James Gandolfini) told his shrink Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) that when it comes to homosexuality, he agrees with "that Sen. Sanatorium, who says if we let this stuff go too far, pretty soon we'll be f---ing dogs."

Santorum, several years back, made similar remarks, only he used more delicate language than Tony did. We called Santorum's office yesterday to ask if he was flattered about getting a shout-out on a popular show. Apparently not. "We're not gonna dignify that comment by commenting on it," said Santorum communications director Rob Traynham.
There also was a reference to Santorum on a recent "Veronica Mars" episode on UPN, in which a student blackmailing gay students used the alias "Rick Santorum."
Possibly the longest-lasting pop-culture reference to Santorum is that of sex columnist Dan Savage(carried here in Philadelphia Weekly), who started what's become a popular campaign to use the senator's surname to describe a byproduct of anal sex.

Santorum Exposed has the video link.

The Senate debate

LANCASTER - In a confrontational conclusion to the U.S. Senate Democratic primary debates, Bob Casey Jr. and his two challengers last night sparred over the role of special interests in politics, the Iraq war, and which one of them would be best able to defeat the incumbent, Rick Santorum (R., Pa.).
For almost two hours in a college gymnasium, Casey kept his focus on Santorum while Bucks County professor Chuck Pennacchio and Center City lawyer Alan Sandals escalated their attacks on the front-runner, attempting to draw differences with Casey on foreign and domestic issues.

Lot's of blogger coverage:


Above Average Jane

Shlomo Boudreaux

Penn Patriot

Alex at Santorum Blog did the play by play and linked to just about everybody.

The post game call-in on PCN pissed me off. The 2 so called experts they had on were Casey cheerleaders and dismissed the other candidates. Why have an election if these guys have already decided it for us?

20th Senate District update

This is the time of year that I force myself to watch the local news if only to catch the political ads. Jim Haggerty was the first on the air listing his accomplishments as Mayor of Kingston. Yesterday I started seeing a Lisa Baker spot with Charlie Lemmond and former Governor Ridge. It also listed among her accomplishments as being the head of a group dedicated to lowering healthcare costs. Well that's been a big success. Russ Bigus is not on the air but he has been running print ads contrasting his positions with Baker's. David Madeira is not on TV but his website has some video outlining his positions and touting his endorsement by Pat Toomey. We haven't heard much from Carl Sutton. Norton has sent a questionnaire to all the candidates and Bob McNamara was kind enough to copy me with his reply. I have been trying to post it but have run into technical problems.

Vermont GOP candidate returns Sherwood's money

WILLISTON -Republican U.S. House candidate Martha Rainville announced late Tuesday that she will return a $1,000 campaign contribution from a congressman involved in a lawsuit alleging domestic violence.
"I am returning a check to DON'S PAC, the political action committee formed by Rep. Don Sherwood, R-PA, because of allegations of domestic abuse which recently came to my attention," Rainville said in a statement.
Campaign officials say news reports were recently brought to Rainville's attention indicating that Sherwood had been accused of abusing a woman described as "an ex-mistress" during a reported five-year relationship. While no charges were filed in the case, an out-of-court settlement was reached late last year. No details of that settlement have been revealed.
Sherwood, who is married, apologized publicly to his family.

"I believe in strong family values and I take the issue of domestic violence very seriously," Rainville said in a statement. "I feel that to be consistent with my own firmly held beliefs I cannot accept this contribution to my campaign, and I will be returning the $1,000 check."

Sherwood is opposed by Williamsport resident Kathy Scott in the May 16th Republican Primary. The winner will face Democrat Chris Carney in the fall.

Voting machines

WILKES-BARREThough the new voting machines are safely in Luzerne County, the Bureau of Elections still hasn't been able to train poll workers how to use them.

After months of wrangling to get the touch-screen machines, the county is still waiting for some of the computer memory cards, called personal electronic ballots or PEBs, needed for training, elections director Leonard Piazza told the county commissioners at a meeting Tuesday.....In the month remaining before the May 16 primary, the county must finish hiring trainers, who then must be trained themselves. Those trainers will then train poll workers in the county’s 316 precincts.

This is great, a month before the election and the people who have to operate these machines don't know how they work.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Blogger ate my homework

Problems posting today. Hopefully be back up after the scheduled maintenance.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Everybody has this complaint

PLAINS TWP. -John Lucernoni brought a large crowd of supporters with him to Thursday’s commissioners meeting to protest the poor condition of the streets in Hudson Gardens.
He asked Chairman Ronald Filippini why the township hasn't paved his street, Kennedy Drive, and a number of other streets there in almost 40 years.

Filippini agreed that the streets are in deplorable condition, adding that when revenue from Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs starts coming in, then the township will be able to pave the roads. He said the township also is looking into other forms of revenue to address the problem.

So the slots are going to pave our streets, build a new arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins and cure male pattern baldness. Oh yeah, you might get a break on your property taxes if everything comes up roses. Who will really benefit from more gambling? Maybe this guy.

Strange women distributing swords in the middle of the night is no basis for a system of government

My favorite part of the Holy Grail is the medieval marxists. In Spamalot we find out that Dennis is Sir Lancelot who later gets mixed-up in the whole gay marriage controversy. Spamalot is the Holy Grail and much more. Some things are switched, such as making fun of Finland instead of Norway, there were no mooses. The Lady of the Lake (Lauren Kennedy) and the laker girls are featured in the play but never appeared in the movie. The actor that played King Arthur (Simon Russell Beale) did it with tongue in cheek and connected with the audience. In my opinion the best performances were by James Ludwig-who played Patsy, Arthur's coconut clacking sidekick- and Christian Borle as Prince Herbert. The French were outrageous, the Black Knight did his bloody best and the Grail is found. "Always look on the bright side of life" from the Life of Brian ended the show with audience singing along. If you have a chance, go see it.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Mrs. G is a member of the Russian Orthodox faith and I am a (non-dues paying) member of the Church of the Generally Indifferent. So her Easter will be next Sunday and we will celebrate then.

A part of the Orthodox tradition is the blessing of the baskets after midnight Mass. When she first told me about it I'm thinking a couple eggs and a chocolate bunny. Then she pulls out a Yogi Bear size picnic basket and empties the fridge into it. So I drag that thing into the church and stand there for 3 hours while I hear the Priest chant. The acoustics in the church are awful and I can't understand a word that is being said. The best part of the night is a procession around the church with flaming torches and icons. But I feel a sense of renewal and redemption when I hear "Christ has risen."

I don't do religion well and the rabbit picture reminds me of Harvey.

Is this what it's come down to?

So far the Santorum camp's main line of attack has been that Bob Casey has not been in the office for more than what you would expect. That and some guy dressed up in duck suit and are shocked that Casey has attacked their guy. I would remind my friends on the other side that this Congress has been in session the least amount of days since the "do nothing" Congress of 1948 that President Truman ran against. Not that there is anything to do.

WASHINGTON -It's great how Congress got that immigration policy resolved, huh? And did you like the way congressmen hammered out the details on a better code of ethics for themselves? How about that pension-system overhaul – really dodged a bullet on that one, didn't they?

Oops. Slipped my mind for a moment. All those things are still on the to-do list......So unless something radically changes, we'll continue paying full-time salaries for part-time work; we'll get far less oversight of the executive branch by the legislative branch: and we gradually will accept the notion that what we want from our elected federal officials is a lot of posturing and very little progress.

The Washington Post has a piece on the Senate race.

Since 1990, Santorum, 47, has proven to be a canny, come-from-behind campaigner who has risen to the Senate GOP's third-highest leadership post. But this year, Democrats say, his charmed political life may end as he faces an unusually imposing set of challenges.
They start with the sagging, 38 percent approval rating of President Bush, to whom Santorum is closely tied. Pennsylvanians also say Santorum has suffered self-inflicted wounds since 2000, when he won reelection despite the belief of some that he is too conservative for this centrist state. He published a book that seemed to slight public schools and mothers who work outside the home. He endured widespread criticism when it was learned in 2004 that Pennsylvania paid about $70,000 through an online program to educate his children at their home in Leesburg.

But his biggest problem, many say, is that Casey is the scion of a well-known political family and has won three statewide races....Still, Casey faces possible pitfalls, starting with his longtime opposition to legalized abortion. Democratic Party leaders wanted to neutralize Santorum's antiabortion activism, and last year they persuaded a prominent abortion-rights candidate to step aside in favor of Casey. The move angered abortion-rights groups, and it may complicate efforts to unite the party's base this fall.

Casey said the election "is going to be, to a large extent, a referendum on the president and on Senator Santorum's record." Santorum counters that Bush lost Pennsylvania by four percentage points in 2000, while "I won by seven."

"So if the president is at 40 percent [approval rating]," Santorum said, "I'm in good shape."

Whereas Casey is cool and patient, Santorum seems edgy and eager. He dismisses his challenger, saying, "If his name wasn't Bob Casey, he wouldn't be a candidate."

The best publicity if free

"The best thing that happened to us is Mr. Family"- Gentlemen's Club 10 owner Sal Scalzo

WILKES-BARRE TWP.-On Saturday evening, Mr. Family finally showed himself-at least in spirit.

At least 100 people, many wearing "I am Mister Family" T-shirts, assembled at the Wyoming Valley Mall parking lot to protest Gentlemen's Club 10. An anonymous man calling himself Mr. Family recently started the Web site He is asking people to post pictures of club patrons on the site, as well as pictures of their license plates.

Believe it or not me and Dr. Rick actually agree on something:

The crowd of circa 100 said God was/would be angry with us over the club. RIGHT!? I can't wait until there is a big snowfall or downpour or something to hear the wackos blame it on Club 10. The funny thing is that this is neither a liberal nor a conservative argument - it's just a matter of "values" per se....If you don't like it there, or don't approve, be like me and just not go. Is that so difficult?

And Wilkes-Barre Online has his usual funny take:

But I must warn Mr. Family that it's perfectly legal to partake of such activities, regardless of his having elevated himself to being Luzerne County's chief of the fledgling Silicone Implant Police' digital camera hit squad. And I must also warn him that he's going to get some chump's eye sockets rearranged when they get to snapping pictures of the wrong guys, or the wrong license plates. There's some very big boys running in these parts and some of them don't take too kindly to pansy-assed individuals mucking about in their personal business, titties or otherwise.

When some self-appointed guardian of my morals starts a boycott of a particular book or movie I usually want to buy the book or see the film. Same thing here. There are many problems in our area that are more pressing and others agree:

Edwardsville residents Matt Cragle and Joe Coleman said they think the protestors should choose a more worthy cause, like the area's growing drug problem.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Bring out your dead

Me and Mrs. G are leaving the comfortable surroundings of Luzerne County tomorrow to take in the sights of New York City. The highlight of the day will be attending a performance of Monty Pythons Spamalot. So I will be offline until Sunday when I will give you a review.

A bigger prison and more debt

WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County officials are poised to spend more than $2.5 million to design a new prison even though construction on the jail may not begin for years.....Minority Commissioner Stephen Urban does not believe the county is financially stable enough to afford the expense to design a new prison. He plans to vote against the contract next Wednesday."There is no money to do this," Urban said. "We spent $500,000 to design a (juvenile detention) center once. Look what happened there."Urban and former commissioner Tom Makowski voted to design a new juvenile detention center and borrowed $8 million to cover construction costs. The facility was never built, then Skrepenak and fellow majority Commissioner Todd Vonderheid entered into a 20-year, $58 million lease for a juvenile facility in Pittston Township.

Another brilliant way to waste money. Design a building that is not going to be built anytime soon. Who can anticipate changes in the building code or future state mandates that will make any design obsolete.

Signs of the times

Police ax signs near roadway

Workers for local political campaigns were dismayed to find dozens of campaign signs along the Cross-Valley Expressway missing Thursday afternoon. State police removed 63 campaign signs they say were illegally placed along the expressway, although campaign workers said they were never contacted by police.....The signs violated a state law that says no signs can be posted along a state highway without written consent from the state Department of Transportation, police said, and violators could face summary citations for each offending sign. Campaigns found to be at fault could also be forced to pay fines ranging from $4 to $20 per sign.

The campaigns may have a free speech argument over this. Maybe Dr. Rick can contact his buddies in the ACLU to help them out.

Debate cancelled, debate scheduled

From the CV:

The Wilkes-Barre area League of Women Voters has canceled the debate among candidates for state representative in the 120th District, originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 19, at Wyoming Seminary, Kingston. League Co-Chairwoman Jane Manganella said incumbent Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston, was unable to attend due to a prior commitment, and only one of three Republican candidates, Paul Stebbins Jr., replied.

However another group is sponsoring a Republican candidate debate.

Republicans for Good Government Political Action Committee.....will hold debates before the May 16 primary. Republican candidates in the 120th District (the seat of incumbent Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston) will debate at the American Legion Black Diamond Post, 386 Wyoming Ave., Kingston, Monday, May 8, at 7 p.m.

There will be two debates on Wednesday, May 10, at the Shickshinny Fire Hall, West Union Street. The first will be at 7 p.m. for Republican candidates for the 20th senatorial district (the seat of retiring Sen. Charles D. Lemmond Jr., R-Dallas), the second at 8 p.m. for state representative candidates in the 117th legislative district (the seat of retiring state Rep. George Hasay, R-Shickshinny).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Drugs and crime

I got carried away last Friday and asked my fellow bloggers about their ideas on how to deal with the drug problem in our country. The response has been very thoughtful and reasoned. My original post:

The policy of the government over the last 40, 50 or 60 years has been to lock-up people because they use drugs. Politicians run on a platform of locking up all the drug dealers. We blame other countries because they supply drugs to the United States but we can't figure out how to convince people not to use them in the first place. I don't have the answers, I wish I did. Something has to change. Our local prison is overflowing and the US has more people in prison than almost any other industrialized country. The perception is that Wilkes-Barre has become a war zone over drugs. True or not, that is the perception. There has to be another way of dealing with this problem. Our political leaders have to step up and give us some realistic solutions to this problem.

Mark at Wilkes-Barre Online pointed out the Hypocrisy of the politicians, the parents of teenagers who use drugs and the economics of the rehab industry. Dr. Rick at The American Check-up had a well researched post that mapped it out. PSoTD understands why just throwing people in jail doesn't work. LVDem suggests a way out. Left Independent has the national security angle of this problem.

Update: Above Average Jane examines the whole spectrum of the problems associated with both legal and illegal drugs.

Mixed Messages

I watch the tube at night and when I'm subjected to the ads I wonder what they are trying to tell us. I see an ad about a pill that will help my arthritis, followed by one for my allergies and then a pill that will help my love life. A little later you get one that tells kid's not to use drugs. A little later you find out who to sue when the drug doesn’t work or the side effects that include growing a third ear.

Norton the Blogger

I have mentioned the new blog on the block, 20th Senatorial, in a previous post and added it to my blogroll. The race to succeed longtime State Senator Charles Lemmond has been the hottest of the season and Norton is all over it. The fur is flying and the signs are burning and Norton has been doing some super reporting you won't read in the newspapers. Some examples are the examination of permit fees to put up political signs and getting the other candidates reaction to Lemmond's endorsement of Lisa Baker. After waiting to find a website for the only Democrat in the race Norton came through by posting :

So now we have a website for all the candidates in the race:

Carl Sutton

David Madeira

Jim Haggerty

Russ Bigus

Lisa Baker

Bob McNamara

The only thing I don't understand is this thing about the WNBA. Has anyone ever actually watched one their games?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


From PoliticsPA:

PAGOP unveils a new mascot for the Democratic candidate's campaign -"Bobby the Duck." "Bobby Casey Jr. has been running for months and Pennsylvanians still don't know where he stands on many of the key issues working families and job creators face because he continually ducks the issues,'"said State GOP Executive Director Scott Migli. "Not only doesn't he show up for his job as state treasurer, but he has failed to provide voters with any clear vision of what he would do if elected to the United States Senate. Bobby the Duck represents the frustration voters feel about Casey."

This reminds me of the chicken suit episode of West Wing. This also was on Santorum Blog earlier but disappeared and I can't find it on the PAGOP website. I guess cooler heads prevailed and the grown ups realized just how stupid this stunt is.

For all the moaning on the Democratic side about Casey it seem the Republicans don't have their house in order. Thanks to GrassrootsPA.

Overheard On The Campaign

In the course of a one-minute speech delivered recently at the Abington Township Rockledge Boro Republican Organization Annual Dinner this past Friday, Renee Amoore, co-chair of the state GOP committee, stated:"...Regarding Santorum, I know some of you may want to just hold your noses, but please vote for him anyway!"

And the Chuck supporters turn up the heat.

Lancaster County for Pennacchio, a local grassroots campaign supporting US Senate candidate, Chuck Pennacchio, will hold a rally at 4:30pm, April 19, outside the Franklin & Marshall Alumni Sports and Fitness Center, 931 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster, in anticipation of a three-way debate later that evening at 7pm. Sponsored by the Floyd Institute's Center for Politics and Public Affairs, this debate will be the second meeting of Democratic candidates for US Senate--Pennacchio, Alan Sandals, and Bob Casey, Jr. G. Terry Madonna will moderate.........

The possibility of a third debate in Philadelphia, home of 40% of Pennsylvania's Democratic voters, awaits the okay from the Casey campaign. The Philadelphia League of Women Voters has offered sponsorship and local TV stations have committed to air it live, but only if Casey agrees to participate, which so far he has declined to do. Both Pennacchio and Sandals have agreed to participate.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Endorsements are good

Jim Haggerty has the endorsement of the local firefighters union. I received this in the email:

Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty, candidate for state senate in the 20th Senatorial District, has received the unanimous endorsement of the Luzerne County Professional Firefighters Local 840, said president George Tomasak.

"Our firefighters are proud to endorse Mayor Haggerty in the state senate race," Tomasak said. "Mayor Haggerty has been a strong advocate for both our firefighters and for making our communities safer. He has ensured that we have sufficient manpower, training and equipment to do our job and to protect the public. We are proud to endorse Mayor Haggerty and we have the greatest confidence that he will be an outstanding state senator."

Luzerne County Professional Firefighters Local 840 is a unit of the Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters Association, an affiliate of the International Association of Firefighters. Tomasak is President of Local 840 and serves as a professional firefighter in the Borough of Edwardsville.


I heard 2 radio ads today that caught my attention while I was wandering around.

The first was sponsored by Young Conservatives Of Pennsylvania (YCOP) Political Action's state PAC . Pat Toomey did a spot telling us what a great guy Ricky Santorum is and ended by asking people to call him and say so. I didn't give our Junior Senator a call and doubt if anyone else did. I guess you can make a political statement in an election year and as long as you don't say vote for this guy so" it will not be counted against his campaign.

The second spot I heard was more intriguing. Bob's brother Pat Casey ( 2 time loser to Don Sherwood) was on one of those annoying lawyer ads. We will protect your rights if something goes wrong in your life, etc., etc. Is this a back dooor way of putting out Casey's name? Like he needs more help.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The great debate

SLIPPERY ROCK -In a sometimes testy debate yesterday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bob Casey Jr. faced sharp criticism from his two lesser-known primary opponents for his positions on abortion, health care, and the Iraq war.
But for 90 minutes in a Slippery Rock University auditorium, Casey kept his attention mostly on the one candidate not in the room: Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.).
"We may have some disagreements on some issues," Casey said, "but we can all agree that this state needs a new U.S. senator and this country needs a new direction."

Blogger coverage can be found at:


above average jane

Next Direction

Santorum Blog

A Smoke-Filled Room

2 political junkies

My impressions of the debate were similar to my collegues. It was good that didn't rip into each other too much. I thought they were are articulate. I liked Casey going after Santorum but not his lecture at the end. I agree with Jane that he could have dressed for the occassion. If I heard Pinnachio say "living wage" one more time I was going to scream. It sounded like my friends in the Green Party. Alan Sandals came accross like the lawyer he is.

The candidates websites take it out for a spin:

Bob Casey

Chuck Pennacchio

Alan Sandals

Rick Santorum

Faith in Politics

In January LVDem organized a discussion about faith in politics that had a great response. Just in time for holy week Carl at Simply Left Behind tells us about his faith and its relation to his political beliefs.

Palm Sunday

Two millennia ago, my Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, rode into Jerusalem on the Hosannas of the Jews there. Garments were rent and placed on the ground, along with palm fronds, in a signal honor to Jesus. Mind you, this was a political statement, the one and only political statement Jesus was ever to make. A political statement. If you recall, it was during the following week that He went to the temple and overturned the moneychangers' tables. After this, the Sanhedrin had determined that Jesus was to be a bigger problem than they feared ("Messiahs" were a dime a dozen in those days) and had him arrested and tried for the blasphemy of claiming to be the Son of God (Mark 14, in particular verses 61-62).

Read the rest.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Speaking of splits in PA Republican party

Lisa has taken a lot of hits and the polling I know of shows her in the lead. Probably name reconition. A story in the Pocono Record spells out the differences.

HARRISBURG — Republican voters face an ideological clash in this spring's primary race to elect a new senator in the 20th District....Three of the five GOP candidates in the race clearly identify with different wings of the party.....At the same time, former Lehigh Valley congressman Pat Toomey endorsed candidate David Madeira, a Dallas chiropractor, as "the conservative in the race." Toomey emerged as a leader of the party's conservative wing during his unsuccessful challenge to U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in 2004.

A third candidate, Russell Bigus, is forging his own set of ties. Bigus recently won an endorsement from Operation PaCleanSweep, the group that sprang up in the wake of the controversial legislative pay raise to mount an effort to unseat all incumbent lawmakers. Bigus is a school board director in Dallas.

PA Republican party

At GrassrootsPA they are rooting for state Sen. Robert Jubelirer to lose and are backing Blair County Commissioner John H. Eichelberger Jr. They had a debate and this is what Jubelier said:

Jubelirer talked of his more than three decades in the Senate, where he said he has fought for the residents of his district which encompasses Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Fulton and a single township in Mifflin County. "Thirty-one years ago, I was a young attorney who wanted to make a difference. I wanted to create jobs, better highways. I knew I wanted to make a difference," he said. "Thirty-one years later, I stand before you with the same priorities."

30 years later he has not got the job done.

Quick start

The Phillies had one of their best spring training ever, so what. They won 18 games before the season began and none since. Lieber got chased in the first game, Gordon gave up the the lead in the 9th in the 2nd, Liddle battled in the next one but got clobbered and Floyd was out of it in the 3rd. Pitching stinks.

At the same time the bats have been silent.

Friday, April 07, 2006

What is PA-Wiki?

Greg at Keystone Politics has started a new project.

Check out PA-Wiki dedicated to PA politics. Everyone is invited to help:

What is PA-Wiki?

PA-Wiki is a community-built encyclopedia of Pennsylvania politics. You help build the site by clicking the "edit" button located in the articles.

Drugs and crime

The policy of the government over the last 40, 50 or 60 years has been to lock-up people because they use drugs. Politicians run on a platform of locking up all the drug dealers. We blame other countries because they supply drugs to the United States but we can't figure out how to convince people not to use them in the first place. I don't have the answers, I wish I did. Something has to change. Our local prison is overflowing and the US has more people in prison than almost any other industrialized country. The perception is that Wilkes-Barre has become a war zone over drugs. True or not, that is the perception. There has to be another way of dealing with this problem. Our political leaders have to step up and give us some realistic solutions to this problem.