Thursday, June 29, 2006

Give to the Red Cross

Our local Red Cross is always there. It's my choice when I have to pick a "charity". It's not a charity but an investment. If your house burns down or is wiped out by a flood the Red Cross is there. After everything we went through this past week we appreciate them more. A long time ago when I was in the Air Force my father became ill and later died. My Mom called the Red Cross and they had me on a plane the next day. If I couldn't get government transportation they would have loaned me the money to fly commercial if need be. What a great outfit. They are still helping our people be it a disaster on on large scale or a small one.

Back from the hills

Things are getting back to normal for most of us. My house is empty of friends and relatives who took refuge and are back in their homes. The biggest problem we ran into was basement flooding. We have been working on cleaning up the mess but it's nothing like 1972 when I went into my grandmother's house and found a large carp on top of the TV and couple of inches of mud. I will never forget the smell and Mrs. G says she can smell the flood everytime they demolish a building in Wilkes-Barre.

As much as I beat up on our county commissioners it's only fair to tell them when they do a good job. The Luzerne County Emergency Management Services did what they are supposed to do. The decision to order an evacuation was prudent and every government agency was called into action. As I was running all over the place yesterday I saw our local police and fire departments on the scene dealing with the latest crises within a crises and the public works depts. of several towns on the scene and helping everyone they could. The Army Corps of Engineers managed the Levee system and PennDOT, the state police and agencies that escape me where all on the same page. I think most of the country can learn from us on how to manage a crises. Thank god FEMA didn't poke their noses in and try to take over. The sad part is we have had a lot of practice with floods and many people who are not protected by the dikes lost their homes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Memories of 1972

I have been posting from every computer that is near me. To hell with politics. I have been running my tail off all day. This storm is like what we went through when Hurricane Agnes wiped out our valley. I was only 12 but I remember that it rained for a week and then it got hot. Today it is hot. Everybody is watching the river today but most of the time we ignore it. It is supposed to crest at a level below the dikes but we will see. Even if the level is below the dikes it still does much damage and the small streams wiped out a lot of houses. So we got everyone to higher ground and I have a house full of relatives and friends who didn't want to go to a shelter. A few wouldn't leave. A friend of mine in Brookside said he will sit on his porch with a cooler and a shotgun to protect his property. I hope either he changes his mind or this isn't as bad as advertised. My own choice is to get out. You can replace possessions but not lives. I will be back to politics shortly.

Casey Blog

My friends at Keystone Politics have a honcho that is going to update Bob Casey Blog on a regular basis. So in the interest of fairness I will add it to my blogroll. Guys, you have some catching up to do. Alex and the true believers at Santorum Blog have been at it for months and are the go to site for news on the Senate race. Good or bad for their guy they post it. I like that.

LVDem even gave me some credit for this turn of events. " A while ago a disgruntled Gort 42 shot me an email saying that he was unhappy about the lack of activity at Well have no fear good KP readers. The problem has been solved. "

Sorry for sounding rude my friend. Sometimes when you write something that you speak out loud it doesn't come across right.

The latest in the race is Casey still has a big lead in the polls and both campaigns have TV ads up. Ricky has an unfocused ad that wanders from coal mines to his his grandparents and ends up about sinister illegal immigrants. Casey's attacks tax cuts for millionaires and companies that outsource jobs. Here is good review from my favorite Slob:

Well, Bob Casey has unveiled what he's calling his first TV ad -- he wants a balanced budget, thinks giving tax cuts to multimillionaire is bad, thinks "giving corporations tax breaks for sending jobs overseas" doesn't make sense, and wants to lower interest rates. Unlike Santorum's first ad (pretentiously named, "Candles") Casey doesn't attack his opponent. It's a typical (yawn) Casey ad -- he talks, doesn't say a whole lot, but stays on substantive issues without taking Rick's bait. It has very nice production values.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


When I lived in other places I joked that the best redevelopment project in Wilkes-Barre was the 1972 Agnes flood. It was like living in Noah's Ark when you date things by before the flood and after the flood. I was 12 when that happened and it was an adventure. I was a little boy and helicopters landing at Guthrie Field and people living in tents was neat. Today I know better. The Mayor of Wilkes-Barre has just ordered an evacuation of people living near Solomens Creek in south W-B because of of this rain. We don't have many natural disaters hit this area, toronados and hurricanes are rare and eathquakes are unheard of. But when you are going to lose your house to the forces of nature it doesn't matter what causes it.

Lou Barletta, media star

I expect him to make some appearances with Rick Santorum soon.

TL: Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta has been booked solid with national media interviews since he unveiled a local plan that cracks down on illegal immigrants and designates English as the city's official language.
He estimates he's done nearly 100 interviews with print, television and radio outlets all over the country and has received more than 7,000 e-mails.

He now has a website: Small Town Defenders

It doesn't tell you much about the controversy he invented but you are encouraged to sign his petition. As with most web petitions I suspect it's just a way of getting email addresses so they can can hit you up for a contribution later. Call me cynical. Maybe he is looking at another run at Paul Kanjorski. He lost to Kanjo in 2002 by about 22,000 votes. Not bad for a first time challenger and Paul will not be there forever.

Now everybody wants in on the act. The fathers and mothers of that progressive community of W-B Twp have proposed an illegal immigrant ordinance because they don't want "those people" to move from Hazleton to their corner of the world. Remember these are the same people that gave the Arena grief and it turned out it was the best thing that ever happened to the place. At least the Township solicitor has some common sense:

The municipality would have to prove the illegality of the resident, not the resident himself. With the easy availability of false documentation, shown several times through the years on various news programs, proving the illegality of a resident is not easy, Bruce Phillips noted, especially with the federal law taking the assumption that any foreigner in the country is here legally.
Individuals cannot challenge a foreigner to show proof of legal residency, he said, nor can a Social Security card be challenged unless it comes up demonstrably false.

Complete enforcement of these local ordinances may end up a federal issue, Phillips agreed.

That's right, it's up to the federal government to enforce the immigration laws, and they won't do it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Times-Leader is saved!

The new guy that bought the TL is a local. Instead of some faceless company we have some local people owning the paper. Wilkes-Barre will continue to be a 2 newspaper town. Thank you. The new guy has a background in the local news industry.

The Times Leader has a new owner.

For the first time since 1978, the newspaper will be a privately owned, independent company in the hands of Wilkes-Barre area owners.

The paper has been sold to former Times Leader Publisher Richard L. Connor and a group of local investors, according to sources close to the transaction.

After all the shit that the Times-leader has been through over the last 28 years it's good to see it land in the lap of some local people. The long and short of it is we still have 2 local papers.

Cut and run

Why say it yourself when someone says what you think. From The All Spin Zone:

Republicans Attack General Casey

Several Senate leaders appeared on the Sunday talking head shows yesterday denouncing General George W. Casey, who had revealed a plan to draw down troops from Iraq by two thirds by late 2007. Similar to Democratic Senate proposals which were attacked by Administration and Republican Senators, Casey's plan was immediately labeled "cut and run" and he was denounced as a traitor. Anonymous Administration sources are saying Karl Rove is promoting a constitutional Amendment protecting marriage from anyone named Casey. Focus on the Family is claiming that General Casey is promoting the gay lifestyle, just like the NEA, though they haven't bothered to find proof in either case. Peter King has called for hearings accusing Casey of treason. I think Crooks and Liars has it, but I might be wrong, that Rush Limbaugh was calling General Casey a "feminazi crack whore," just days after interviewing Casey and telling him how lucky it was for Casey's career was that the Iraq War came along when it did.

The week after the Senate debates an Iraq withdraw the Commanding General of the operation unviels a plan to do just that. This is not a war anymore it's an occupation. It's time to find a way out of this mess.

Adding the Spin Dentist and the rest from All Spin zone to the blogroll.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Smoking bans

The Philadelphia City Council recently passed a smoking ban in bars and restaurants with some exceptions. That's what is great about laws like this there are always exceptions. I think it's bullshit. Many restaurants and bars have already instituted a smoke free policy and that is their choice. If you smoke and can't take an hour off from your habit go somewhere else. We go to Delaware every year and they have a smoking ban but if you sit outside and you can smoke. An exception. I traveled to Manhattan recently and a place we ate at had a room you could light up for a membership fee. An exception. Leave it up to business owners to decide what is right for their establishment. There is a bill in the state legislature to outlaw smoking in what they call public places. They can't pass a budget, gave us a sham of property tax reform and are busy outlawing gay marriage-like that's a problem. But they are worried about this.

The best analysis of this so called problem I've read comes from Russ Diamond:

Like nearly every other question or issue government faces, whether to ban smoking or not is actually a question of property rights. At any given time, ask yourself one simple question: Whose property am I on? If you're at the Capitol building in Harrisburg, your county courthouse or the local elementary school, you are clearly on public property. That property is owned by the public at large and administered by some governmental body for the common good. As a member of the public at large, you can claim some right to be on that property. If you're in a bar, restaurant, tavern or any other business establishment, you are on private property. You are there at the invitation of the owner. Patronizing any given business is not a right, but a privilege - the owner can un-invite you just as easily as he or she invited you. The ability of smoking ban proponents to blur the distinction between public and private property baffles me......

In light of these realities, is banning smoking inside public places a good idea? Yes. Given the litigious nature of society today and the potential liabilities associated with second-hand smoke, banning smoking in public (government) buildings makes sense. In addition to the duty of government to provide for the use of that property in some way benefiting the public good, it also has a duty to protect the public from any negative effects of that property's use. But banning smoking on private property makes about as much sense as passing a law preventing businesses from going smoke-free. The best solution - as always - is to let the free market decide. In my hometown, there are three different taverns/eateries. Two allow smoking; one doesn't. All three do their fair share of business. Those who prefer a smoke-free atmosphere patronize the smoke-free establishment. Those who don't, don't. And of course, there are those who do not make their decision based on this particular issue and patronize all three. If at some point, the respective owners of the two smoking establishments perceive they are losing business to the smoke-free establishment, they will consider changing their policy. Conversely, if the smoke-free establishment loses business to the smoking-allowed establishments up the street, they will consider changing their policy as well. Either way, it will be a matter of business survival. The decision rightfully belongs to those business owners.

h/t to The Centrist for pointing this out.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Carl Romanelli

Wilkes-Barre native Carl Romanelli was nominated by the Green Party of Pennsylvania to run for US Senator in April. He finally got a website up and running. From his bio:

Carl Romanelli is a Green Party fireball that hails from Northeastern Pennsylvania. A retired family court officer; currently working as a consultant in the rail industry, Carl has been a lifelong public and community servant, with a reputation for speaking truth to power and defending those most oppressed in life. He brings this energy to the Pennsylvania general election in 2006 with the hope of offering a viable, competent alternative to the old, corporate parties. Carl is committed to an agenda, which includes ending the occupation in Iraq, providing universal, single-payer health care for all Americans, defense of women's reproductive rights, ending of the drug war along with establishing a more enlightened foreign policy, in compliance with international law. Stand with Carl as he takes a REAL people's agenda to the debate in this year's election. Together we can make history and challenge those who refuse to articulate the important issues of our time.

He has to get over 67,000 signatures to make the ballot which is a ridiculous hurdle for any candidate. They claim to have over 36,000 so far but will probably need 100,000 to survive any challenges which are sure to some. He is also making some news:

Romanelli campaign invites Casey campaign to join debate talks. Green calls for Casey pledge in favor of ballot access and honest debate.
Green Party US Senate candidate, Carl Romanelli, today issued a statement inviting Bob Casey, or his campaign, to join the Romanelli and Santorum officials in meaningful debate discussions.

Casey at the blog

Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader columnist Casey Jones usually has something amusing to say about the events of the day. On Wednesday it was bloggers:

Wednesday I pretended that I was a blogger, one of those guys who writes opinion columns for the Internet in their pajamas.
I got up early. Read the papers. Sat down at my computer with a cup of coffee and a Klondike Bar and started typing.
This is good work, if you can find it. Bloggers get to set the world straight without leaving the house. Here's my first try.

It was a pretty good post as we call it in our world. Actually I don't see much difference between what he does and what bloggers do. Just like him bloggers check out the news of the day, maybe talk to a few people then throw their two cents in. But unlike him most of us don't get paid for it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Kanjo gets lucky

On a Christmas visit last year to his daughter’s New Mexico home, U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski popped by the Cities of Gold casino in Pojoaque north of Santa Fe, hit a hot streak and won $19,500 playing blackjack.

I’m usually not a good gambler,” Kanjorski said. “This was a real run … I got so far ahead, it got real ridiculous. It was exhaustion that took me out of the game.”The Nanticoke Democrat said he’s played blackjack for fun for 40 years and plays at casinos where he travels a couple of times a year. He jokes that it’s “his only major vice that I’m going to discuss at this time” and said it’s a good way to get to know the area he’s visiting.

“I’m not a winner, I’m a loser,” he said. Ironically, he’s not a big believer in having casinos everywhere.“Because I don’t see it as creating wealth. It only transfers wealth from winners to losers, losers to winners,” he said. And some times to a congressman.

I agree with him about casinos. I'm not looking forward to the one coming in Plains. It's going to create more problems than it will solve. He is against casinos but goes into one when he has the opprotunity. Hmm.

If they won't enforce the law why pass new ones?

From the Daily Item:

Unemployed mason Todd Harter heard there was a strip mall under construction not far from his central Pennsylvania house, drove the 30 miles to check it out and asked the man in charge for a job.Harter noticed all the workers spoke Spanish. The owner of the masonry company “looked at the Mexicans, looked at me, and said, ’I don’t think you’d fit in,’” said Harter, 38, of Nescopeck. “It made me mad.”

What made him even angrier is that federal immigration agents neglected to take immediate action after his father and others told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement they suspected illegal immigrants were working on the job site.

If the federal government won't enforce the immigation laws what can Hazleton do about it?

Fumble and recovery

Lupas pursues Hugo escape charges

Luzerne County District Attorney Dave Lupas continued his efforts to bring escape charges against double homicide suspect Hugo Selenski after a judge threw out the charges on a technicality in February.
Selenski, who is currently awaiting trial in connection with the slayings of pharmacist Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett, escaped from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in October 2003 by climbing out of a window with a rope made from bedsheets.
But Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. threw out the escape charges, saying prosecutors did not bring Selenski to trial within 365 days, as prescribed by law.

There are rules and the DA didn't follow them. It seems like it's a waist of time to pursue this when the guy is on trial for murder. Unless Lupas doesn't think he will get a conviction in this case either.

First it was land sharks, now this

BLUFFTON, S.C. -- A knock on a South Carolina front door was no joke -- it was a 6-foot alligator trying to ring the doorbell.

We are used to seeing pictures of gators showing up on golf courses in Florida but it's not just a problem in the south.

POTTSTOWN-An American alligator was captured by Pottstown police Monday after a Mercury carrier discovered it while delivering papers along Rice Street, and was in the care of G. Bauer Pest Control in Douglass (Berks), a company licensed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to trap and pick up wild animals.

Gary Bauer, along with his daughter Wendy Bauer-Griffith, has been responding to calls on pests for nearly 20 years, and said they have rarely gotten calls on alligators, certainly none this size before.

In other animal news.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - On a typical day at Tellme Networks Inc., Jackson snores, Penny spends time learning Chinese and the bosses and workers are delighted.
Penny, a Labrador Retriever, and Jackson, a bulldog, are part of an effort at many U.S. companies to allow pets in the workplace. One survey shows nearly one in five U.S. companies allow pets at work.
Millions of Americans believe pets on the job lower absenteeism and encourage workers to get along, according to the survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.

Tip of the hoagie to Susie for the last item.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Reassessment in Luzerne County

What a dry subject. Some people will have higher taxes and some people will have lower ones. Most of the home owners in the middle won't even notice. We are so conditioned to having property taxes going up every year. A little bit here and a little bit there, it stinks.

The majority commissioners put it off until next year:

Commissioners vote to delay reassessment

Skrepenak asked Urban if it was fair that people on fixed incomes will see their property taxes go up.

I'm so sick of this seniors on a fixed income agruement. We are all on a fixed income. I get a 2 or 3 percent raise a year as do seniors. Most people don't get that.

The Pennsylvania American Water Company sucks

A few weeks ago we came we came home to our street and sidewalk being torn up by the the water company and we had no water in our house. We called the 800 number and someone came out and gave us our water back. I asked for a telephone number for a local manager and the technician said there weren't any and you had to call the 800 number. Bullshit. She had no record of our house being a target for repairs and we would have to call the 800 number the next day. A few weeks later the sub-contractors did a nice job of fixing the road but did a less than good job fixing our sidewalk. After various contacts with this company the answer I get is that is that we're a monopoly and we will will do what we want. Live with it. This may end up in court if we can beat the Republicans restricting our rights to sue big business when they fuck us over.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Coming to a TV near you

The Rick Santorum campaign has decided to spend the millions and billions they have collected from every special interest that wants a favor on Capitol Hill on TV ads starting Friday. I'm sure the first ones will tell you what a great guy he is. Remember he cut taxes (blew up the budget), is strong on national security (never ending war) and wants to give you more choices (screw you out of your Social Security). The ads on the second day will tell you what a bum Bob Casey is. Remember he has run statewide a few times (Ricky has been in Washington since 1990), has missed some time from work (Congress has been in session the least amount of days since 1948) and won't take a position (while he has been solving the pressing problems of gay marriage, inventing an immigration "crises" and punishing flag burners).

It's going to be a long negative summer from Ricky. His poll numbers are heading south as the latest Q poll and others show. So his only choice is to try to make Casey the issue and go negative early. It may work. I hope not. He would be an ideal Senator for Utah or Alabama but not Pennsylvania.

Tip of the the hoagie to A Big Fat Slob and my friends at Santorum Blog for pointing out the poll numbers and the ad campaign.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hazelton, Mayor Lou Barletta and Illegal immigrants

He got his 15 minutes.

The national media have come calling in Hazleton.

A local ordinance proposed to crack down on illegal immigrants in the city is attracting the attention of national media outlets and residents from California to Maryland, said Mayor Lou Barletta.“I am getting calls from all over the country,” said Barletta, the mayor of a city that has seen the Hispanic population surge from about 4 percent in 2000 to about 30 percent today.

If you don't punish the employers it won't stop.

Illegal Hiring Is Rarely Penalized

The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show.
Between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department. The number of employers prosecuted for unlawfully employing immigrants dropped from 182 in 1999 to four in 2003, and fines collected declined from $3.6 million to $2,000 according to federal statistics.

Ben Salazar, a longtime activist, says that "immigrants know they're needed" in jobs many Americans wi not fill, "so they will take their chances.

The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show.

Hugo Selinski

The only news that came out of the Nancy Grace story on Headline News is that the DA's office will seek the death penalty. So if he is convicted we will be reminded of this every time his appeal is heard. And the way our legal system works it may take 20 years to work through it.

Sometimes I think our legal system is so stupid. Sure, many people deserve the death penalty. But by the time you get to it you have put everyone involved through countless appeals and reliving the horrible events. Lock them up and throw away the key.

And every once in a while you find out that someone was wrongly convicted. The state should not execute people.

Last night Nancy Grace didn't have a clue about this case. She inflated the body count and obsessed out the twist ties that the prosecution said was used to commit the crime.

Hugo and Barletta

The two big stories around these parts are the Hazelton illegal immigrant controversy and the upcoming Hugo Selinski trial. Both are getting national attention. A couple of stories in the CV point this out:

Selenski case gets national TV airtime

Barletta's proposal draws attention of national media

Welcome to all who found this site by searching for these subjects. Please come again. Now to put up separate posts so you can comment.

Monday, June 19, 2006

This is not about Democrats and it is not about Republicans - it is about good government. Send me to Congress, and I will make you proud.”


Carney Introduces Republican and Democratic Co-Chairs

Williamsport, PA-Chris Carney kicked-off his campaign for U.S. Congress today at the Herman T. Schneebeli Federal Building in Williamsport. Campaign Co-Chairs Susan S. Belin (R-Waverly) and Marvin Rudnitsky (D-Selinsgrove) introduced Carney to the crowd.
“As [Congressman] Herm Schneebeli’s daughter, I know what personal integrity in public office means. I know what it means to be responsible to the people who have elected you, to respect and to represent the values of the people of your district,” said Republican Co-Chair Susan S. Belin.... "I’m happy to report to the people in my home town that my principles are stronger than my party loyalty. Don Sherwood does not represent my personal or political values. That’s why I am supporting Chris Carney,” said Belin.

“I am running for Congress because our interests and our values have not been represented in Washington,” said Chris Carney. “This is not about Democrats and it is not about Republicans - it is about good government. Send me to Congress, and I will make you proud.”
Throughout his life, Chris Carney has served his community and his country. Chris has served as a first responder, working his way through college as an EMT.
Currently a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Chris Carney served multiple tours overseas and was activated for operations Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, and Southern Watch.
After 9/11, Chris served at the Pentagon as an intelligence analyst and senior advisor on intelligence and counterterrorism issues. He coordinated counterterrorism activities in the Middle East and was a key figure the Pentagon’s effort to destroy international terrorist networks.

How many bodies?

I watched Nancy Grace tonight. How many bodies? 10 or 18. I'm sure Hugo Selenski has not been charged with 18 murders. But according to Nancy Grace she has convicted him of 18 murders. The last I checked he was on trial for 2 murders not 18. She is also covering the escape. This is such nonsense.

A bad baseball team

They lost 5 of the last 6 and 8 of the last 10. Tonight they are playing the Yankeemeees. The starting pitchers can't get out of the 5th inning and they can't get a hit when they need one. Let's hope they turn it around tonight.

Russ Diamond

I don't know what to make of this guy. I get at least an email or two a day from his campaign. Most of them are begging me to get petitions signed. He is even offering a bribe to the person who gets the most.

RUSSDIAMOND.ORG, the campaign committee for Independent gubernatorial candidate Russ Diamond, is offering Club Seat tickets to two Philadelphia Eagles home games to the winners of its Most Valuable Playe signature contest.....Any registered voter who submits fifty or more valid signatures to the campaign is automatically entered in the drawing and can score additional entries for each subsequent submission of 50 signatures. Circulators submitting 250 signatures will receive five regular entries, one bonus entry and a call from the candidate.

He needs 67000+ plus signatures to get on the ballot and I think that is outrageous, he is up against a ridiculous barrier just like my old friend Carl Romanelli who is running for Senator as the Green Party nominee. But that is another post.

Russ founded the the Clean Sweep movement which had the idea of defeating every incumbent in the legislature who voted for the pay raise. Nice idea but impractical. They got some press but in the end an endorsement has to be backed up by money and foot soldiers that can help a campaign. Clean Sweep couldn't deliver either. When the people involved in the Clean Sweep effort found out that the founder was just using them to further his political ambitions they rebelled. There are some lawsuits that are ongoing that I won't even get in to. The latest polling I've seen has him at 2%. The chances are he won't even make the ballot.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lisa spent 400 grand

TL: Lisa Baker easily won the Republican primary election for the 20th District seat of retiring state Sen. Charles Lemmond, and the amount spent on her campaign might explain her success.
Baker’s campaign cost more than those of her four opponents combined, according to campaign finance reports filed this week.
Baker, who captured 46 percent of the 23,751 votes cast in the May 16 election, reported her campaign spent almost $410,000 from Jan. 1 to June 5.
Dallas chiropractor David Madeira, the runner-up with 21 percent of the vote, reported $86,094 in campaign expenses.
Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty, the third-place candidate with 18 percent, reported $212,088 in campaign expenditures.
Dallas School Board member Russ Bigus received 13 percent, and his campaign reported almost $23,000 in expenses. Carl Sutton, a Dallas Township resident and psychotherapist, ran a campaign that cost about $1,000. He finished in last place with 2 percent of the vote.
Baker spent more than $240,000 on TV ads. Haggerty spent more than $150,000 on radio and TV ads.

Our immigrant from Virginia

I got a couple of emails today that informed me that Gort42 and Wilkes-Barre Online were mentioned on WILK today. I was listening to baseball so I missed it. Wow. The subject was the Hazleton English only ordinance. I think it's nonsense but Mark favors it. We disagree as we often do. It's obvious that Mayor Barletta was put up to this by the Santorum campaign.

So the latest in the Senate race is Sanatorium is beating up on Blah Bob for saying he would vote for the bill sponsored by Bill Frist and the White House. You know that they are Republicans. So Ricky got Mayor Lou Barletta to do his dirty work and propose an inflammatory law that makes second class citizens of Hazleton's spanish speaking people. Judging by the reaction to this you can expect other towns in PA to propose similar laws. As Pope George Ringo pointed out HATE SELLS. First they tried to make gay people an object of fear but that didn't fly. So now they want to make Mexicans the scapegoats of our troubles. History is full of examples of blaming an unpopular minority for the problems of the day usually with disastrous results. As Santorum tries to close the gap on Casey (down 9 in the strategic Vision poll and 23 behind in Rasmussen) he is going to try to make Casey the issue. I got news for you Ricky, challengers don't win elections incumbents lose them. So far in Santorums media buys I haven't heard why I should vote for him only that the other guy is a bum. As The Big Fat Slob pointed out:

Give the people want they want

I' getting some hits from people searching for the Flora Bush video. Here it is:

The "third Bush twin" has a CD out:

On November 25th, 1981, George W. Bush became the loving father of twins. Unfortunately, Mom gave birth to triplets. Hello, America. I'm Flora Bush, the daughter the President doesn't want you to know about. I'm a Democrat! I'm a punk! And I'm going to rock you with my new album, THE CHILD LEFT BEHIND!!!"EAT YOUR PEAS!" "DON'T STAY UP LATE!" "DON'T GET GAY-MARRIED!"Listen to Flora Bush' debut CD featuring such classics as " Get out of Iraq (and my room) and "Puppies and Landmines"

Friday, June 16, 2006

Very personal post

I grew up the north end of Wilkes-Barre. In the 1960's people spoke language's I didn't understand. There were stores I had had a hard time buying things because I didn't know Russian or Slovak. I miss that. Yes Grandma didn't speak English but her kids did. And their kids were fluent in the English language but couldn't speak the the native tongue. What a loss. My father encouraged me to learn a different language and after 4 years of taking French I went to France. I wish I had paid attention because I had no idea what they were talking about.

My point is that the immigrants of today will assimilate just like our grandparents did. Even if the first generation doesn't grasp the language the next will.

Good riddance Joe Mazur

There is new Luzerne County Democratic chairman. I hope he is less divisive than the last one.

WILKES-BARREThere’s a new face leading the Luzerne County Democratic party.
West Pittston attorney Mark W. Bufalino was narrowly elected party chairman Thursday night, culminating a week that saw at least four changes among district party chairs. The 36-year-old topped Kingston resident and current Fifth District chairman Tom Benesky, 47, in a 135-120 vote at the Ramada Inn on Public Square.

And the CV (Commissioners Voice) is calling this an injection of new blood just like Skrep and Vondy who backed Bufalino. So the Commissioners got their boy elected to lead the party after putting off reassessment so it won't be an issue next year when they run for reelection. Hopefully no one will notice that they can't balance a budget or pay attention to all the money they have borrowed.

Yeah, this is a new era in Luzerne County politics. What's the old saying; The more things change the more they stay the same.

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on Mark and hopefully he will bring some life back into an organiztion that seems to be sitting on it's hands. I'm as guilty as anyone who gets caught up in local squabbles. But things have to change. It seems to be me that the best thing the County Democratic Party has going for it is that the Luzerne County Republican party is inept.

A case in point. The latest election demographic is the super voter(thanks Austin). Forget soccer moms and NASCAR dads. They are people like me who never miss an election. The kind of voter that is critical, especially in a primary. My Democratic Committeeman lives about 10 doors away. I know his name but I have never talked to him or seen him at the polls. I was urged by my neighbors to run for that position but for a number a reasons I couldn't do it at this time. The thing the party has to do is to get rid of dead weight like this. We need people who are willing to get out into the neighborhood. I will be out talking to my neighbors this fall about what is at stake and urging them to vote. We need some committee people who are willing to do the same.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Who wants a pay raise?

I do and so do you. Too bad we just can't vote on it. After all the fun of Pennsylvania legislators voting themselves a pay raise you would think that our representatives in Washington would run away as far and as fast as they can at such a suggestion. Some did but not our guy.

PB: The 249-167 roll call Tuesday by which the House blocked an effort to kill a $3,300 cost-of-living pay raise for members of Congress.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA11) voted to prevent a direct vote on the pay raise thus clearing the way to raise his own salary. Dave Ralis puts into perspective:

Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee surprisingly approved a hike in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25, which would be the first increase in a decade. However, the committee's amendment to a bill funding health and education programs is likely to be stripped out when the measure comes to the House floor. If you're keeping count that's rich lawmakers 7, the poorest Americans 0. A person working at the current minimum wage would have to put in 16 weeks (at 40 hours per week) just to gross $3,300 - the same amount as Congress' automatic raise.

Good news from the war

WNEP: After 18 months away, six months of training and a year in Iraq, some soldiers with the 109th Infantry from Scranton and attachments are expected to come home Thursday. It's the start of the return of more than 800 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen.
About 80 soldiers are expected to arrive just before 6 p.m. but that's only the beginning. Over the next four days, all 800 soldiers from the 109th Infantry and attachments from Scranton will return home. Military officials said it will be the largest return of troops to northeastern Pennsylvania since the Korean War.
The soldiers returning Thursday evening will be home for good. A first sergeant said, "Northeastern Pennsylvania has done its part on the war on terror and the war in Iraq. I'm glad our men and women are coming home."

So am I. Time to bring them all home.

Idiot watch

Man told police he was robbed on way to buying marijuana

WILKES-BARRE – A man told police he was pulled from a car, assaulted and robbed after 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

According to Wilkes-Barre police:

The alleged victim, whose name was not released, told police he met an acquaintance at the Turkey Hill Market on Wilkes-Barre Township Boulevard and got into the person’s car so they could drive somewhere to purchase marijuana.

While driving in the area of Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, an unknown man pulled the alleged victim from the vehicle and began assaulting him, causing him to lose consciousness, he told police. He says he “awoke,” realized he had been assaulted and called a friend before dialing 911.
The alleged victim was transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for an evaluation and for treatment of facial lacerations, said police.

He could not recall what had been taking from him.

Hugo part deux

OK maybe it's part 57 as far as this guys court appearances go. People forget he spent time in prison for bank robbery and has been charged and convicted of a host of other charges from DUI to passing bad checks. But his second murder trial is on the way. I was watching the news tonight and someone said he should get a medal because he was killing drug dealers. Hello, he's an admitted drug dealer. And because people make stupid choices in their lives doesn't mean they deserve to die a horrible death.

So now the Hugo circus is headed back to the center ring and the pressure is on DA Dave Lupus to get a conviction this time.

KINGSTON TOWNSHIP -Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas and his prosecution team convinced Magisterial District Judge James Tupper there was enough evidence for Hugo Selenski and Paul Weakley, his alleged accomplice, to stand trial for the murders of Kerkowski and Fassett. Tupper made the ruling despite no eyewitnesses to the murders or anyone placing Selenski or Weakley at Kerkowski's Hunlock Township home May 3, 2002, the day prosecutors allege the crimes were committed.

Hugo's former girlfriend has turned on him and some of the prosecution witnesses lack credibility:

Rodney Samson, another acquaintance of Selenski, said Selenski offered him $20,000 to help kill Kerkowski. But under cross examination by John Pike, Selenski's lead defense attorney, Samson admitted to taking 20 hits of crack and drinking between eight to 10 beers the night of the alleged statement.

The carnival atmosphere was evident during the hearing:

Members of accused murderer Hugo Selenski's family have made T-shirts comparing Selenski's second double-murder trial to a rematch in a boxing rivalry.
The words on the shirts (Lupas vs. Hugo Round #2) places Selenski in one corner and Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas in the other.

And Hugo just can't shut up:

Lupas was presenting a crime-scene photo of Kerkowski's body to Selenski and his defense team when the first altercation occurred. "You're making a mockery of this court," Selenski said to Lupas as he handed over one photo. "No, you are," Lupas shouted back at Selenski. "This is a court of law," Lupas said. "This is a serious matter." About an hour later, the pair clashed again as Lupas handed over another piece of evidence. "No, you can't say anything to me," Lupas shouted at Selenski. "I didn't say a damn thing to you," Selenski fired back. "Leave me alone." "Why don't you sit there and keep your mouth shut," Lupas responded. "Keep smiling. Keep smiling."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Illegal immigration

Can a small city in Pennsylvania do something about illegal immigrants? Probably not but Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta is trying to make it an issue locally. Somehow I'm skeptical of his efforts. As far as I know only the federal government can make and enforce the immigration laws. The problem is the federal government won't enforce the immigration laws on the books. When the last overhaul of the immigration laws were enacted in the 1980's it put the onus on employers to verify that companies were hiring legal residents and provided harsh penalties for those who hired illegals. Today those laws are not enforced. You can talk all you want about deporting people but if the companies that hire them aren't punished it makes a joke of the whole system.

Some great quotes from the TL story today:

Mayor Lou Barletta has proposed an ordinance that would prohibit and punish the hiring of illegal immigrants and renting property to them.
"I don't want them here in Hazleton," Barletta said. "They're not wanted. " The jobs most work are selling drugs. Many I am dealing with are not law-abiding citizens."
The city's population has spiked from 23,000 to 31,000 residents in six years because of an influx of Hispanics.
Barletta said he doesn't know how many of the city's new residents are in the country illegally.
"Many new residents are a productive part of our community," Barletta said.
"But a group of people are here illegally, not paying taxes, using city resources, and I have just had enough of it," the Republican mayor added.

Gee, I wonder if this initiative has anything to do with the Senate race.

TT: In dueling statewide radio commercials, the two major-party candidates for Mr. Santorum's Senate seat scorch each other for opposing views on the immigration-control bill that easily passed the Senate on May 25.....

The Russians had to build a wall to keep people in, the United States is talking about building one to keep people out. I'd rather live in a country that people want to come to instead of one that people want to get out of. Yes we have to get controll of our borders but I'm getting sick and tired of vilifying people because they are "different."

A hundred years ago our grandparents were looked down upon because they had a different religion, had a better tan and couldn't speak English.

This is America, a nation of immigrants.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ID theft

Sometimes they pass laws in Harrisburg that make sense.

From the PG: Don't be surprised if some day soon you get a letter with this disturbing news: A thief has swiped a computer file with your name, Social Security number or other personal financial data hoping to steal your identity and run up big bills in your name.

On June 22, Pennsylvania's Breach of Personal Information Notification Act takes effect, requiring companies to notify state residents if their sensitive personal data has been lost or stolen, exposing them to the risk of identity theft. The goal is to give Pennsylvanians an early warning so they can monitor their financial records for suspicious transactions and take steps to limit the damage.

This is a good idea considering I just received such a letter from the Veterans Administration.

Joe Leonardi for Congress

Do you want an inflatable dam in the Susquehanna River? This guy doesn't. He just got a website up, check out:

It's still under construction but here is his statement on the homepage:


I am Dr. Joseph Leonardi, and I want to be your Congressmen in the 11th Congressional District in Pennsylvania.

My Pledge To You

To have a Full Time Office in each County

Limit myself to 3 Terms

NO NEPOTISM - If you are related to me, No Government Job or Contract

I am Running to Represent YOU!

I must have your help to bring a NEW voice, representing REAL people, to the U.S. House of Representatives! Thanks for visiting, and thank you for your support!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Ricky and NASCAR

My friends at Santorum Blog are excited that a few NASCAR drivers have endorsed our visitor from Virginia. In fact the Santorum campaign has a web page up about it. John Micek calls it rednecks for Rick. It’s a natural fit as they are both dependent on corporate sponsorship. NASCAR now has a Scientology car. Anything for a buck

I previously wrote about Nascar Stickers for Political leaders. Take it a step further.

What if the senators talked like the drivers? It might go something like this.

The chair recognizes the Accuweather-Wal-Mart-K Street-PETA junior Senator from Pennsylvania.

Thank you Mr. Halliburton-Exxon-Mobile-Smith & Wesson President.

I want to call attention to remarks by the Sierra Club-Friends of the Earth-Ethanol Industry former Vice-President .Blah, blah, blah………….I now yield the remainder of my time to the AFL-CIO-NEA-Jack Daniels senior Senator from Massachusetts …….and so on.

On a side note I noticed that Alex moved me into left field and I always thought I was more suited to shallow center. I have resisted adding links to my blogroll that deal with one campaign. But it’s time to change that policy. Alex and the true believers are the best source of news about the PA Senate race. Of course they put their spin on the news of the day as do I.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Adding to the blogroll

Keeping an eye the politics of this country with a wide eye on the politics of Pennsylvania:

Next Direction

What kind of Big Government do you want?

I'm a bit conflicted. Do I want a government that spends money and keeps an eye on the bottom line or do I want one that expands and cuts taxes? I think that this is the choice this fall on both the state and national levels. We have a national debt that is out of control. There is the cost of the war, homeland security and everything else that government does. I remember in the nineties there were rules that said if you proposed a tax cut or a new program you had to show an offset. This week, after they tried to make people 2nd class citizens the Senate voted on eliminating the ESTATE TAX. This tax affects very few people and after they pay it they still have a few million left over. Must be rough.

I'll take the bait

I have always considered politics to be part entertainment. We have seen actors elected to high office such as President Reagan or Governor Arnold and we have Lynn Swann trying to defeat Ed Rendell. But this guy is something else.

His name is Raj Peter Bhakta and he is running against Allyson Schwartz for the PA-13 Congressional seat. I had never heard of him until I started reading that he was going into politics after he got his 15 minutes of fame on The Apprentice.

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa.-The bow-tied Bhakta was fired from the program after a home renovation project went awry. Now, two years later, he is trying his hand at politics, challenging Democratic freshman Rep. Allyson Schwartz for her seat in the state's 13th Congressional District.
Yet the cameras still follow him. A production crew is filming a documentary about his campaign.

I have never watched The Apprentice so I don't know what he did wrong plus he is trying to live down 2 DUI's and has no money. After leaving a very unflattering comment about him at LVDem's site (he ripped him a new one) I received a couple of emails from his campaign.

The first was a blogger outreach that was poorly worded and the second showed an ignorance of how things work.

The first:

Dear Gort,

I am contacting you on behalf of Raj Bhakta for Congress. I am writing because this campaign respects your impressive website which showcases your immense talent.

Blogs are underutilized in politics. This campaign is interested in developing a strong relationship with you, so that your blog may reach it's maximum potential. Please contact upon receiving this e-mail, as I would like future communication.

Raymond Smalley
Raj for Congress

Huh? If these guys have a way for this blog to "reach it's maximum potential" I'm all ears. I replied and asked what they ment by that and if I get an answer I'll let you know. The second one had a misleading title:

Allyson Schwartz's Indefensible Action

Republican congressional candidate Raj Bhakta is describing as "indefensible" the cut in funding Pennsylvania received from the federal government to address terrorism threats.

The state's share dropped from $81.9 million last year to $49 million this year. Philadelphia's portion went from $22.8 million to $19.5 million.
Bhakta, who is challenging Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.), noted that the Philadelphia area is large and has a busy port, military installations and a nuclear power plant. "If Philadelphia is not at risk, I don't know who is," he said.

What did Allyson Schwartz do to bring about this funding cut? The Department of Homeland Security decided how much the states and cities are going to get. A Republican administration interpreting a law passed by a Republican Congress is responsible for these funding cuts not Allyson Schwartz.

As usual, LV hits it on the head: "It only looks like this guy is in constant need of a TV audience and instead looks more like a TV show contestant than a legitimate candidate for Congress. He sounds like Rick Santorum... and we all know how much I don't like Rick Santorum."

I'm looking forward to the TV show. He wants to being rich and famous and maybe he will be. I've always said I'll take the rich and skip the famous.

Friday, June 09, 2006

It's an election year

Today I got an email titled "PA Governor's Newsletter" that came from Governor Edward G. Rendell. Then another one popped up with the title of "Rendell Report." The difference is the first came from the state government but the other came from Rapid Edward's re-election campaign. Stop it. They kicked you off Eagles post-game because it's an election year so don't spam me on the taxpayers dime.

Progress as promised

Oh yeah, that was the last guy's slogan. When I was driving around today I was listening to Sue Henry on WILK. She related a recent encounter with former Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom McGroarity at the supermarket. According to her McG took credit for the ideas of building a downtown movie theater, a glorified bus stop and a new fire house at Hollenback Park. I'll give him credit for that, he had the ideas. But his problem was execution. It's hard to get things done when you go out of your way to piss off everybody you need to complete the projects. That and his lack of knowledge of arithmitic.

But anyway. Yesterday was good day for Wilkes-Barre. Finally something as basic as downtown streetlights are back.

From the CV:

Streetlights have been an issue since 2000, when corroded light fixtures began to topple over. Replacements have taken six years to install.

Mayor Tom Leighton and Governor Ed Rendell simultaneously threw the switch. It took a while for the lights to warm up, but after a few seconds all of South Main Street was aglow.

Residents of nearby Provincial Tower looked on from their balconies and cheered as the lights grew brighter. They waved to Rendell and some openly praised his work. Rendell politely thanked them for their support.

The governor was in town to speak at the Leadership Wilkes-Barre graduation dinner, so he was able to accept Leighton’s invitation to help turn on the streetlights.

Rendell realizes streetlights might be insignificant to some people, but he sees them as a sign of progress.

“We’re proud to have been a part of this,” said Rendell.

And we got a new fire station:

WILKES-BARRE – Making his third appearance in two days touting revitalization in the city’s northern section, Mayor Thomas M. Leighton officially opened the Hollenback Fire Station with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

The station, on North Washington Street north of the Cross-Valley Expressway, cost about $740,000 to construct. It will house two fire engines and two ambulances and be manned by four firefighters and one paramedic at all times.

The house will also accommodate a police substation.

Two new ambulances, each costing about $125,000, were also unveiled on Thursday. Leighton announced that the city will be receiving three new engines, each of which cost about $300,000, in the near future.

“As a result the entire city will be better protected,” he said.


I'm too much of a cynic to start saying I believe but things are looking up.

Newspaper wars

When you read the Wilkes-Barre papers today about the reassement controversy you see why we need 2 papers. The Citizens Voice thinks it OK that the Luzerne County Commissioners
Delayed the decision by talking on the phone to each other. They talked to many people in the courthouse who were hired by the dynamic duo and they think it’s fine.

Go over to the Times-Leader and they are ready to bust a blood vessel over it. Their story is quoting officials from other counties who say it’s a clear violation of the Sunshine Act and filed a lawsuit ..

As my favorite Slob pointed out, they both have an agenda. GOOD! One paper defends the status quo and the other calls for reform

The TL is still in Limbo.

Bernie is having some fun with the Northampton County Council over the Sunshine Act.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Chris Caney has a netroots ad

You can see it at You Tube.

Go vote and help Chris:

There are two votes you can cast this week for Chris, both of which have the power to bring significant support to our team. Cast your vote for Chris Carney today!

Vote 1: Gov. Mark Warner’s ‘Change the Map’ competition:


Vote 2: Democracy for America’s Grassroots All Star Contest:

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Maybe the Times-Leader is not lost

How many towns in the US have competing newspapers? The last time I checked it was about 10. Most of them are in big cities. I never thought I would be defending the Times-Leader especially after the strike that broke the union and spurred a new publication-The Citizens Voice. For those of you old enough to remember it was one of the most vicious responses to a strike I have ever seen. Since then the TL has passed through a few different owners and now they want to sell. The rumor is that Times-Shamrock will buy the paper and shut it down. Hopefully this will not happen:

Source: TL boss behind new bid

A group of investors assembled by Publisher Pat McHugh has submitted a surprise bid for the purchase of the Times Leader, a source familiar with the effort said Friday.
The offer was made to keep the paper operating and to retain the work force, according to the source, who is close to a Philadelphia-area consulting firm that brokered the arrangement

I enjoy the Times-Leader. I would hate to lose it.

No reassessment this year

I was surprised the the Luzerne County Commissioners have put off reassessment until 2008. (not) Let's get past the election in 2007 before any tough decisions have to be made. It was interesting that this story was in the Commissioners Voice (thanks Mark) but not the TL.

CV: County Commissioners Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid opted Monday to postpone reassessment, which will place new fair market values on the majority of properties within the county.

How do I protect myself against gay marriage?

Pissed off Patricia gave me some suggestions.

Wardrobe! If I wear crazy clothes maybe they will leave me alone.

After work tonight I put on my best plaid Bermuda shorts with sandals and knee high black socks and a Metallica t-shirt. Then I took the dog for a walk. The two evil women down the street (so called life partners and they may want to get married) saw us and suggested we were hot and offered me a glass of lemonade and gave the dog a bowl of cold water. I refused the lemonade but I couldn't deny the dog a drink. What evil people would try to seduce me like that? For some reason when I wear this outfit my niece refuses to go to to the mall with me, go figure?

Tomorrow I have a big day at work. Instead of wearing the blue suit with the matching tie that Mrs. G picked out I'm thinking of wearing a striped shirt with the polka-dot tie and my tweed jacket with the patches on the arms just so I can ward off that guy that I think is gay. I know he must be gay because when I mentioned that I couldn't take my Mom to an appointment he volunteered to take her. What an evil person. I'm afraid of these people. They may redecorate my house or something.

As Patricia suggested I locked up my marriage license and bought some duct tape.

On a more serious note. Don't these guys have something more important to do (there's a war on, the budget is out of control, etc.) then try to amend the Constitution to restrict the rights of our fellow citizens. We have a federal system that has always left certain powers to the states. Marriage being one of them. I agree that this question should not be decided in the the courts but in the state legislatures.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A resemblance?

Maybe General Zod had a makeover and is trying to start smaller. Click on the images for the details.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kanjorski had a meeting

WILKES-BARRE - President Bush is "sitting in a bubble," has made serious mistakes in Iraq while ignoring problems in the United States and has driven a record-setting national debt, said U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski on Saturday.

Kanjorski said the money the country is spending in Iraq is "foolishness"

I love this: Kanjorski said he spoke with Bush during a recent airplane flight and Bush acknowledged he was "in trouble" as far as popularity.
He says Bush asked him, "What can I do to change the perception of Congress and Americans?"
Kanjorski said he suggested the president "play cards and socialize with members of Congress" to generate conversation and obtain different views.

Would Bush even know how to play crazy eights or hearts?

His pet project, the inflatable dam, got another knock.

More trouble under the Mohegan Sun

CV: Clouding the future of slot machine gaming in Plains Township even more, operators of the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs have cancelled an upcoming series of job fairs to introduce local residents to the 400 to 500 new jobs they plan to create.

If you read the article they are objecting to paying the host town (Plains Twp) 1 or 2 percent of revenue. I live in Plains Twp. and we are counting on that money to solve all of our problems. It's going to pave our streets, lower our property taxes and maybe build a pool to replace the one Wilkes-Barre just closed. Not to mention curing male pattern baldness and erectile disfuncion.

What a crock of shit this whole project has become. It's more complicated than the Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

The latest is the vendor fee.

PLAINS TWP- The regulations require any vendor that does more than $2,500 in business with a slots operator in a 12-month period to register with the board. Businesses that do $2,500 to $200,000 in business must pay $2,000, and those that do more than $200,000 in business must pay $4,000.
Woytowich said he provided catering services to Mohegan Sun last year for meetings held on and off site. The racetrack has spent about $1,400 as of August 2005, he said.

So if a small restaurant wants to keep doing business with the track they have to pay a licensing fee? This is FUBAR.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

They closed the pool

This one hits home in Wilkes-Barre

First the Heights lost the fire station now they lost their swimming pool.


Mayor Tom Leighton announced late Friday afternoon that the Coal Street Pool will not open for the 2006 season. The pool’s structure and pump system need significant repairs, he said.

I remember when the Coal Street Pool opened when I was still in school. When it was built they closed the Hollenback pool and filled it in. When I was a kid I spent my summers either playing pick-up baseball at Guthrie Field which is now locked-up or swimming at Hollenback. I remember riding my bike over to Coal Street after our pool was closed until my Mom said no.

All the attention is on the big projects downtown. Take care of the little things. Kids need a pool!

We can't lose Rick Santorum

I'm having a re-think about Rick Santorum. What would we do without him? Politics is a contact sport but it is also entertainment. Who is more entertaining than Ricky? He spent Friday campaigning with Sen. Bill Frist, the majority leader, talking about malpractice reform.

But Santorum's wife sued a doctor for $500,000 in 1999. She claimed that a botched spinal manipulation by her chiropractor led to back surgery, pain and suffering, and sued for twice the amount of a cap Santorum has supported.

Just after Frist left town he started running radio ads attacking Casey for saying he would have voted for a bill that Frist sponsored. That's gratitude.

This is the second media buy from the Santorum campaign and they both have attacked Casey on some made up issue. The first one was about the sneak and peek at the house he doesn't live in. Nothing positive about our visitor from Virginia.

He claims to be a conservative ( remember them?) but thinks it's OK for the government to spy on your phone calls, but not his. He also said that the way to support our troops is to put one of his bumper stickers on your car. At first he favored Intelligent design then he was against it. And he is a fiscal conservative, you know, against government spending but spends his time traveling the Commonwealth handing out pork checks. He has outside groups running ads that tell you what a great guy he is but they won't tell you who is paying for them. And he is running away from Bush.

I won't even get into the whole Terri Schiavo controversy other than to say what conservative would put the government in the middle of the most painful decision any family could face? But he did it with style. He flew to Florida on Walmart's corporate jet and blew off a voter forum about Social Security "out of respect for the family." But he found time to hit a few fund raisers and came away with a couple of hundred grand. One of the Philly columnists called it "Poetry in Motion."

What about the other guy? Bob Casey is boring, boring, boring.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Our Part of the Bargain

Above Average Jane asked other than voting, what is our part of the bargain?

I can't get past the voting thing. I know many people who just won't vote. Why? When I ask I get a myriad of reasons. The excuses I get seem to boil down to one thing. People are lazy. It takes time and effort to be an informed voter. Most of us that write political blogs do it as a hobby. Politics is our thing and find it hard to understand that many people just aren't as interested. But voter or not everybody has an opinion about the government. It's frustrating to try to figure it out.

The problem politicians run into was summed up by Edmund Burke; "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion." Our responsibility is to hold their feet to the fire but respect them when they make a principled decision that you don't agree with. You have to remember that our system of government is designed in a way that no one person or group of people should get their way all of the time. You have to make a deal. When our representatives settle for something less than the ideal, that's when all hell breaks loose. And it should. We have to constantly remind them why we sent them there.

Marc Holtzman

Does anyone remember Marc Holtzman? He ran for Congress in 1986 and got clobbered by Paul Kanjorski. He moved to Colorado and is running for Governor. But things are not going well for him.

Holtzman fails to make governor ballot

Holtzman fell 743 signatures short of the number required to gain a spot on the August primary ballot, according to Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis.
Locked in a bitter fight with Congressman Bob Beauprez for the Republican nomination, Holtzman failed two weeks ago to win enough support at the state party assembly to secure a spot on the ballot. Holtzman's backup plan was to gather 10,500 signatures from Republican voters to guarantee him a place on the ballot....

Many political experts were shocked by what they saw as the incompetence of Holtzman's signature-gathering operation.
"Good grief, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to read the law and figure out how many signatures you need," said John Straayer, a professor of political science at Colorado State University.
Straayer said that Holtzman had neglected the fundamentals of building a campaign organization and gotten too caught up in his own image-making.
"This whole enterprise has been way too much Marc Holtzman and not a solid campaign organizational base," he said.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I have nothing to fear

When the Nazis came for the communists,

I remained silent;I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,I did not speak out;I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,there was no one left to speak out

First they came for the Muslims, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Muslim.

Then they came to detain immigrants indefinitely solely upon the certification of the Attorney General, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't an immigrant.

Then they came to eavesdrop on suspects consulting with their attorneys, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a suspect.

Then they came to prosecute non-citizens before secret military commissions, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a non-citizen.

Then they came to enter homes and offices for unannounced "sneak and peek" searches, and I didn't speak up because I had nothing to hide.

Then they came to reinstate Cointelpro and resume the infiltration and surveillance of domestic religious and political groups, and I didn't speak up because I had stopped participating in any groups.

Then they came for anyone who objected to government policy because it aided the terrorists and gave ammunition to America's enemies, and I didn't speak up because...... I didn't speak up.
Then they came for me....... and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Stephen Rohde, a constitutional lawyer and President of the ACLU of Southern California, is indebted to the inspiration of Rev. Martin Niemoller (1937).

A response to Jane

Mark at Wilkes-Barre Online did the homework:

No, I d say we need to pay strict attention to what they do, as well as every other elected official. And we need to hold them accountable. Unfortunately, we do seem to be paying strict attention, but what we remember, or what we choose to believe has become too selective.
Leftie bloggers see only the faults of the Republicans and vice versa. If the lefties are so completely motivated to dump Rick Santorum, why do they seem so content with obvious boobs such as Cynthia McKinney, or Harry Reid? Reid’s a stooge, but I wouldn’t argue with you if you called Santorum something equally disparaging. We need not dump just the Republicans boobs. We need to dump all of the boobs.
What is our part of the bargain? I guess that depends on how much time you, as an average Joe, can devote to politics, but I’d say our part of the bargain should be putting our country first and our party second for the good of said country. But more importantly, we should demand that the elected folk do likewise.
Good freaking luck on that one, because, as we all know, the only thing wrong with politics is that other party.

The problem with the Republicans

They just don't get it. The Republicans have been running the show on the state and national level for too long. And they have made a mess of things. There is a balance to politics. When the pendulum swings too far in one direction it swings back to the other. The Republicans have expanded the government and have decided to act outside the law. Be it the NSA wiretaps or the 2AM pay raise

Even the the Republicans I know have had enough.

PA politics

Check this out if you are interested in state government. Three reformers were on PCN.

Eric Epstein, Rockthe

Chris Lilik, Young Conservatives of PA

Timothy Potts, Democracy Rising PA

The link is here:

You can watch the show online at ... down page to listing for the Wed., May 31, show -- click on "play" button. You'll need QuickTime player to view the show. (Links like this one are only available a few days.)

A big thanks to Bill Bostic!