Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Red Barons are being deported

From We Should BE GM's:

Say "good-bye" to Scranton Wilkes-Barre after this year and "hello" to North of the Border. That's right, the Phils Triple A team will reside for one season in Ottawa, Canada. While a stadium is being readied for an Allentown home for the Lil' Phils in '08, they'll partake of some Molson and bacon in the '07 season.

It's one way of reducing the the local Hispanic population. With all the Latin players on the team being forced to leave the country it should make Lou Barletta and Rick Santorum very happy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

One less place to build a WalMart

Tree farm will be preserved through county program

When Sugarloaf Township farmer John Wolk sold the development rights to his farm on Monday, he said it was a simple decision for a simple reason.

Sure, there is a nice financial incentive that comes with selling the development rights under the Luzerne County Agricultural Preservation Program. Wolk admits the monetary aspect is nice, but for him there is a more important reason behind the preservation.“Is the money you get for preservation equal to what a developer would pay you? No,” Wolk said. “It’s strictly for the love of farming that we protect farms from development.”

The Wolk Brothers Tree Farm encompasses more than 200 acres and is farmed by John Wolk and his brothers, Albert and James. Monday’s transaction preserved 78.8 acres of the farm, and the family enrolled another 73 acres in the program in 2004. To date, the program has preserved 14 farms totaling more than 1,500 acres of farmland in the county.

It may keep a lot of developers away from the area in general because they know there’s a lot of large tracts preserved,” he said. “Someone who doesn’t farm may find it hard to believe that farmers are so attached to the land, but it’s in our blood and we love what we do.”

The North Branch Land Trust was instrumental in making this happen.

The Beach Boys

CV: The Beach Boys’ free concert is still on for Sunday at Kirby Park despite a rainy weekend forecast....The concert, originally scheduled for July 3, was rescheduled after days of soaking rain flooded Kirby Park. Heavy rains Tuesday and the chance of rain this weekend sparked concerns it may be canceled again. As of now, however, the concert is still on...About 30,000 people are scheduled to attend the free concert Sunday. Kirby Park will open at 10 a.m.

Grasping at straws

So Rick Santorum accuses Bob Casey of missing a few days from work while running for office. This is coming from a guy that has been in Virginia-er-Washington for 16 years and has run for office 5 times. He is also a member of the present Congress that has been in session the fewest days since 1948. Which is alright by me. The less time this bunch spends in the capitol means we are that much safer from them. What have you been doing with all that extra time Rick?

Now he is trying to pin the pay raise on Casey. Let me get this straight. It's Casey's fault that the Republican Legislature passed a pay raise bill in the middle of the night (with plenty of help from the Democrats) that the Governor signed into law with some crazy unvouchered expense clause that the courts found to be OK? I know you are trying to find an issue guys but it's hard. Bobby is pretty much squeaky clean. He pays his bills, he goes to work and provides for his family. The same thing Ricky does. Only he doesn't bill the Penn Hills school district for educating his kids in Virginia, get mixed up in some quasi-charity that pays people on his campaign staff or advocate starting another war, this time with Iran.

Thanks to 2 Political Junkies for pointing out the court decision. Rick thinks this issue has legs. Penn Patriot keeps repeating the phrase unconstitutional pay raise. I read the PA Constitution tonight and the state treasurer is only mentioned twice in the document. Both times about process but not about responsibilities. I'm sure that Sen. Santorum has read both documents, maybe he should read them again.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New Chris Carney ad and some good news

Carney for Congress - 2nd TV Spot - "Jennifer and I"

Clarks Summit, PA-In the August 25th, 2006 edition of the Rothenberg Political Report, A Nonpartisan Analysis of American Politics and Elections, Stuart Rothenberg calls Carney/Sherwood race for the 10th District a “Toss-up,” which is an upgrade from his previous ranking of “Lean Republican.”
In his analysis, Rothenberg notes that “Cong. Don Sherwood has had plenty of problems,” and he calls Chris Carney “an interesting challenger.” He goes on to say that Sherwood’s grip on the District is “tenuous.” In conclusion, he says that “This is a very interesting Democratic opportunity and a GOP headache in a very Republican district.”
Rothenberg divides House races into “toss up,” “lean,” and party “favored” categories. In this latest issue, he noted that the PA-10 race is a Toss-Up that “tilts” Republican, reflecting the make-up of the District.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I don't hate anyone

When I disagree with the policies of the present government people start yelling I'm a Bush hater. When I disagree with our junior senator people say I'm a Santorum hater. A few days ago I heard a remark that I must be happy that Don Sherwood is in the hospital. Far from the truth. I disagree with these people politically and will oppose them but I wish them all well. I think Bush, Santorum and Sherwood should look forward to a long and well deserved retirement. Starting as soon as possible.

I am not an illegal alien

From Mark:

"Just for the sake of accuracy, Gort is not the real name of that aforementioned local blogger. His real name is Klaatu Schwartz and he hails from the distant planet Blogtune. He claims to have been raised locally, but he is lying to you. He landed on this planet in 1951 and has been using our resources ever since. Simply put, he is an illegal alien and LouBarletta should get after him pronto."

Barletta, the FBI, MI5. They are all on my ass. I have many enemies and will now appear in in public only in drag. An informed Wyoming County minister recently informed me that I hate America. Since I always believe everything my religous leaders tell me I just may move to a monastary and light candles for GWB everynight.

May the Schwartz be with you.

The video may not load. So here is the link:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pa politics is a zoo

A duck, a gorilla and a polar bear walk into the Pennsylvania Senate race. The duck stalks one candidate, the gorilla follows around the other and the polar bear gets a condo. It’s good to be a bear.

Feathers were flying in Bethlehem when the duck got into a altercation.

Casey, Santorum supporters scuffle at rally

Bethlehem police were called to stand by at a rally for U.S. Senate hopeful Bob Casey Jr. this morning after a scuffle broke out between a Casey supporter and a supporter of his opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

The Gorilla just watched.

The polar bear got the best of both of them when Senator Pothole got a piece of pork for a zoo.

PITTSBURGH -- When Sen. Rick Santorum was first elected to Congress 16 years ago, he was among the firebrand conservatives who mapped out the Republican Revolution to slash government spending and end political careerism in Washington....Typical of his campaigning these days was a stop earlier this month at the Pittsburgh Zoo, where he boasted to local reporters about how he'd fetched $500,000 from federal taxpayers to build one of the most luxurious polar-bear exhibits outside Arctic climes...After the zoo event, Mr. Santorum was asked whether funding for the polar-bear exhibit really was all that important, given the federal government's hemorrhaging debt, looming financial crisis in entitlement programs and expensive emergencies, such as the war in Iraq and rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. "If the pot of money is there, I'm going to make sure we get a piece of that money," said Mr. Santorum, who defended his record of support for "lean" budgets.

But the Gorillas are not done. Grandpa Gorilla can't get around as well as he used to but his grandson is a chip off the old block.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Corporate welfare

WILKES-BARRE — City council will help the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs casino move forward, even though the project is located outside Wilkes-Barre.

At a special meeting Thursday, council voted to apply for state grant funding to assist with the $500 million project in Plains Township. The city will join Plains Township to ask for up to $15 million over the next five years for the casino, a project that Wilkes-Barre council members said would benefit all of Luzerne County.

WTF. This whole gambling thing is supposed to create a never ending stream of tax money not cost the public treasury. A friend of mine recently opened a lawn mower repair business and didn't get a dime of taxpayer money. How did he do it?

Sell the Red Barons

After 18 years of the politicians running the Lackawanna County Stadium and the Triple A ball club the place is a mess. The reports are that venture has lost over $10 million and Phillies are moving to Allentown. When Phillies Asst. GM Ruben Amauro says he doesn't know who to call when he has questions because the place has become a political football it tells you that these people don't know what they're doing. Contrast that with the way the Wachovia Arena is run. A professional company is responsible for the operation and the place makes money. In general I oppose government owning what should be private businesses, be it ski resorts, golf clubs that aren't within the city limits or liquor stores.

CV: All three Luzerne County commissioners vowed Wednesday to have a final say in a potential sale of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. Their statements came one day after Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert Cordaro announced Columbia Sports Capital, a New York-based company, offered to buy the AAA baseball franchise for $14 million. Cordaro and fellow Republican Commissioner A.J. Munchak said they were “not inclined” to sell the team, yet would entertain offers.

From what I know the Lackawanna County Commissioners have micro-managed the place from the beginning right down to hiring part-time ushers. So I can understand them not wanting to give up a source of patronage. That's why the team should be sold. People who understand the business of baseball should run the place.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bob McNamara for state senate

As we approach the end of summer the local races are heating up. Bob McNamara is running for the seat of retiring 20th district state senator Charlie Lemmond against everybody's favorite girl Lisa Baker. The district includes a big chunk of Luzerne County and many others.

If you are brave enough to wander into the wild north this Saturday you can meet up with Bob. In a weird year like this he just might be able to derail the coronation of the quasi-incumbent that one friend described as Tom Ridge's "Girl Friday." He thinks he has a chance. From a press release:

The last few months have been exciting ones for me and my family. Unopposed in the Democratic primary, I received over 95% of the Democratic vote. My opponent on the Republican ticket only received 45% of the vote. The turnout was small, less than 20% district wide and of course, those registered Independent could not vote in the Republican and Democratic primaries.

You can find the details of the event here.

Happy (belated) Babe-Elvis Day

I was on vacation last week and on a bit of a blog break and almost forgot about a much needed summer holiday. Wilkes-Barre needs a niche, this could be it. What I wrote last year still applies today.

Why don't we have more summer holidays? Memorial Day starts the summer and Labor Day ends it. The only mid summer holiday is Independence Day. We have 6 holidays between November and February. Why couldn't Washington, Lincoln and MLK Jr been born in the summer? And they certainly could have called off World War I a few months earlier. We need a holiday in August. I propose August 16. That is the day both Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley died. They are two of the biggest American cultural icons and it would be fitting to honor them.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm not the only one who is pissed off about this

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.- Benjamin Franklin

My recent visit to Philadelphia is still sticking in my craw. One of my joys in visiting the city is to take in an afternoon visiting the birthplace of American freedom. But to do it now you are treated like a criminal. To see the Liberty Bell, the Old City Hall and the building the Declaration of Independence was debated you are required to get tickets, pass through metal detectors and deal with fencing all around the place. This is bullshit. A friend of mine just returned from Washington and told me she didn't have to go through any of that to see the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument but had to go pass through a metal detector to get into the Air and Space Museum. You tell me what is a bigger target? As I was leaving the visitors center I kept saying The terrorist have won. We are less free than 5 years ago. Not because of the terrorist but the because of the government's reaction to them. A Smoke-Filled Room pointed out this editorial in the Inky today.

Fencing Independence Hall

Editorial An affront to our history

Gov. Rendell had it exactly right when he said the plan to erect a 7-foot-high security fence through Independence Square "makes no bloody sense at all."

After that, what's left to say?

Plenty, because Independence National Historical Park officials still haven't dropped their bad, knee-jerk proposal to give the spot where the Declaration of Independence had its first public reading the feel of a minimum-security prison yard.

The National Park Service has done one good thing: pushing back until Sept. 1 the deadline for public comment on the park's controversial security plan.

That leaves plenty of time to send your own pungently expressed thoughts about this bad idea to Park Service officials via e-mail. For a description of the security plan and an e-mail address to send comments, go online to

By all accounts, Independence Park officials are getting the earful they richly deserve. Their plan for continued airport-style screening and minimum-security prison fencing has aroused opposition from business leaders, preservationists, civic groups, landscape architects, city planners, historians, archeologists and ordinary citizens who mean it when they sing "home of the brave" before a ballgame.

Ever since 9/11, the trouble with Independence Hall security has been its heavy-handed intrusiveness. From its inception, the screening and corralling of visitors has stood as a glaring contradiction to the courageous stand for liberty that took place in 1776 at the site.
In its comment on the plan, the city's Design Advocacy Group - design professionals who rally around good ideas for the urban landscape - nicely captured the incongruity. As the group's Alan Greenberger wrote, "The sad irony of having to cage the place where American freedom was invented is more than we should all be willing to tolerate."

And the suspicion remains that the plan is mostly about show and cost; less heavy-handed, but more expensive steps could provide equal security (understanding that no site like this in the middle of bustling, major city will ever be totally secure from threat).

The more you hear about the plan the worse it gets. The Park Service plans to convert much of the Supreme Court building - commonly known as Old City Hall - into a room where visitors are marched through metal detectors. That's a disgrace. "Serious desecration" is the appropriate description given this plan by IMBARC, the Independence Mall Business and Residents Coalition.

This is the moment - five years after 9/11, with no credible threats to the historic brick structures or the Liberty Bell - to reassess notions about security around Independence Park.
If the Park Service insists on screening visitors to the buildings, it should do so without the stockade-like cordon. As much as possible, visitors once again should be able to walk up to the old brick buildings, stroll through the archway of Independence Hall and ponder the beauty of Independence Square.

It's long past time for the security measures at Independence Hall to be trimmed back - tailored both to the actual threat, and in keeping with the values enshrined in this city.
Tell the Park Service and Bush administration that the home of the brave doesn't need to erect such fences around its birthplace.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Meet the Candidate

11th Congressional District Republican candidate Dr. Joseph Leonardi will be pressing the flesh in a few Luzerne County towns on Wednesday.

9:00am Downtown Hazleton

11:00am Downtown Nanticoke

11:30am Downtown Plymouth

12:00pm Downtown Wilkes-Barre

1:30pm Downtown Plains

2:30pm Downtown Exeter

3:00pm Downtown Pittston

4:00pm Downtown Avoca

Inflatable Dam Project

Saturday, August 19, 2006

So what did I miss?

We had a great time in Philadelphia taking in a couple of Phillies games and running around town. The Phil's dropped an exciting game to the Reds on Sunday and I was really looking forward to the pitching matchup Monday night. Rookie phenom Cole Hamels vs. one of the best to ever play the game, Pedro Martinez. I was hoping for a one run game with both pitchers going into the ninth but Pedro disappointed by giving up 6 runs in the first, plunking two batters and a balk. But the Phil's won, so I was happy. We attended Drinking Liberally on Tuesday and met a great bunch of people. All of them were excited about Chris Carney's chances. I'm sure my appearance there will end up in my FBI file.

I was both angered and saddened when we went to Independence Hall. Metal detectors, fences, barbed wire, etc. To visit the home of American freedom I was treated like a criminal. You can't physically protect every potential target in the country and to try is an enormous waste of time, effort and money. All the money they are going to spend building a fence around the place would be better spent getting the FBI a working email system. I got pretty agitated with all this BS and started mouthing off when Mrs. G dragged me out of the place.

Back to my question. Nothing too exciting seemed to happen other than an epidemic of bank robberies. No county commissioners decided to play pinball with their cars in the Toys R' Us parking lot. Hazleton is being sued but we all expected that. In fact they are saying they won't even try to enforce the ordinance. In Forty Fort the town fathers decided not to open a can of worms, good for them. Chris Carney is on the air and Joe Leonardi has a web ad up on his site. Christine Katsock came to my door and left her card saying she has a but it doesn't come up when I try to get there.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Coming to America

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I gave you 2

This may be the only time I do this. Watch the ads in the previous 2 posts. What do you think?
New Commercial for Don Sherwood
Pennsylvania Values

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Time to hit the road

I'll be back in a few days. If anything interesting happens leave me a heads up in the comments. Thanks to Say No and Ava for the following.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Off to Philadelphia

Need a break from the every day so we are off to the City of Brotherly Love. We have loose schedule consisting of watching the Phillies at the Bank on Sunday and Monday and visiting Independence Hall before they ruin it by putting a fence around the place. I'm really looking forward to attending Drinking Liberally on Tuesday at Tangier. I hope to see some of the Philly bloggers I read everyday and report back about my adventures in the capitol of Left Blogistan when I return. I may even snag the Rocky statue that is in mothballs and bring it back to Wilkes-Barre.

The latest in Hugoland

WILKES-BARRE -A Luzerne County judge removed himself Wednesday from presiding over the Hugo Selenski murder trial at the request of prosecutors....“The Commonwealth’s allegations are both insulting and wholly without merit,” Judge Peter Paul Olszewski wrote in a 27-page decision. “For the Commonwealth to suggest, let alone to specifically allege that this court leaned heavily towards Selenski illustrates an intentional ignorance of the record.”

When asked to comment on specific accusations made by Olszewski in the ruling, Lupas declined to comment on most parts, saying: “I don’t choose to crawl into a gutter with rats.”

Correction: Lupas stood by his decision to file the request, saying it was the right thing to do “morally, legally, and ethically.” He realized he would have to face some repercussions for doing it.

“I’m used to being subjected to people calling me names,” he said, at one point insinuating Fannick has resorted to such tactics. “I stay above that. … I don’t crawl into gutters with rats.”

Wow. The Judge hurt his feelings and he resorts to name calling.

The Mohegan Sun shines on Pocono Downs

It looks like the Mohegans will not pick up their ball and go home. They got some money back on the purchase price from Penn National and a promise of corporate welfare from the county commissioners to offset the taxes they are obligated to pay Plains Twp.

PLAINS TWP. -As the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority protested what it saw as excessive taxation on its planned slot machine casino, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs President Robert Soper insisted that threatening to drop the project was not just a negotiating ploy.
"We only state things that we mean," Soper repeated Wednesday, minutes after announcing that the Mohegans had reached a deal with former track owner Penn National Gaming Inc. for a $30 million refund on the $280 million purchase price, allowing construction to proceed.
The refund -and a pledge by the Luzerne County commissioners to help the Downs apply for up to $15 million in economic development grants - was enough to erase concerns among local officials and the public that development of a casino would be delayed or halted.

Are you kidding me? They are going to give them $15 million of taxpayer money to build the promised cash cow that is supposed to provide enough tax revenue to fund our schools, reduce the property tax burden, pave our streets and provide free viagra to all of the town's senior citizens? Maybe they will float another bond to finance this brilliant idea. At least Kevin Blaum thinks that idea is DOA.

TL: "The chances are probably zero that any casino operator will get state grants of any kind," Blaum said. "You give a million dollars to a casino operator, it's a million you can't get for someone else."

I'm not against gambling put I have serious doubts about this bill of goods that has been sold to us. A billion dollars a year in tax revenue is promised but I recently read that the New Jersey casinos produce about $400 million a year in tax receipts. Do you really think that the PA slots will be more successful?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Carl Romanelli for Senate

First of all I want to say I hope Carl Romanelli survives the challenges and will be on the ballot in November. Even if the way he financed his petition drive leaves a bad taste in my mouth. As it has pointed out to me this is the way the game is played. Now the other shoe drops and the PA Democratic Party will go to court to knock him off. We will see what happens. My regret is that that the other "3rd" party candidates didn't make the cut. The Libertarian, Constitution and Socialist Workers Party candidates should be on the ballot. Russ Diamond got over 30,000 signatures and we won't have to have the opportunity to vote for him for Governor. The system has to change. As LVDem pointed out to me, the more choices the better the product. And the Roadmap to Reform from Democracy Rising advocates:

Amend election laws so that they level the playing field for all citizens who want to run for public office regardless of party affiliation.

In other Green Party news Carl is leading the charge against the latest attempt to change the Wilkes-Barre charter. They are going to court to block the latest attempt to tinker with the way city council is elected.

WILKES-BARRE -A state court will likely have the final say in how Wilkes-Barre voters elect council members -again. Bergold's proposed question would ask city voters if they wanted to wipe out new, district-based city council elections approved in 2001. The Luzerne County Green Party vowed Tuesday to challenge the legality of Bergold's question. The party contends changes approved by voters in 2001 have yet to be implemented and cannot legally be reversed, said Carl Romanelli, co-chair of the Luzerne County Green Party.

"We think it's unlawful," Romanelli said of the planned referendum. "We think the law is five years after the districts have been enacted, not after the referendum passed and was subsequently delayed by agents of city council."

So Carl is going to spend a lot of time in court between his Senate petitions and the new brouhaha over W-B council districts. I still come back to the question I asked a few months back. Carl, why run for an office like Senator that you can't win instead of an office like State Rep that you might have a shot at in a weird year like this?


Dave Iseman had a funny column in Friday's TL:

Just when you thought the news about Hugo Selenski couldn't get any weirder, the prosecutor is trying to prosecute the judge. District Attorney Dave Lupas says Judge Peter Paul Olszewski is biased in favor of Hugo, an ex-con suspected of doing more bad things than maybe anyone who ever lived in Luzerne County. Lupas says Peter Paul showed favoritism toward the defense in Hugo's first trial when Hugo was acquitted of double-murder charges. So, Lupas argues, Olszewski shouldn't be permitted to preside over a second trial involving different double-murder charges.

Ah, Hugoland, where the intrigue never ends.

He then recounts all the twists and turns this case has taken from the initial big dig in his backyard, a PSU student who went missing in a bunny costume on Halloween, the escape using bedsheets only to have him turn up at his house, then the escape charges getting tossed because the DA is incompetent, Hugo's house being sold to Free Hugo "T-shirts."

Then the DA and some of the families of the victims attacked one one of the finest men I have ever known, Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr., as being biased in favor of the defense. They want him to recuse himself from the case and today they got their wish.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) -Granting a request by prosecutors, a judge recused himself Wednesday from the murder trial of a convicted bank robber who lived on property where authorities found as many as 12 sets of human remains.
Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. strongly defended himself against attacks from county prosecutors but concluded that the "greater good" required him to step down.

Be careful what you wish for Mr. District Attorney, Chet Muroski knows what the job of the DA is. If you lose this case Mr. Lupas I suggest you go back to locking up all the drug dealers like you promised in your first campaign. We all know what a success that has been.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

If it ain't broke don't fix it

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta's immigration ordinance has inspired some copycat proposals in other towns. Now the little Luzerne County hamlet of Forty Fort, with almost no minority polulation let alone an immigrant problem, is set to pass a law that addresses a problem that doesn't exist. From what I read in the CV today was a frustration of one local official with the unwillingness of the Bush administration to enforce the immigration laws already on the books.

Councilman Dave Williams said the proposal was created because the federal government has failed to act against illegal immigration, which he called "a disease that's festering in this country. " However, Williams said hasn'tasn't noticed a growing illegal immigrant population in the borough.

"Do we have what I perceive to be a huge illegal immigration problem? No," he said....."Maybe finally, the federal government will get off their lazy buns and do something."

There are a few people in the town that realize this is foolish.

Councilman Andy Tuzinski said he is not advocating the proposal and is "neutral" on the issue. He said council needs to focus more on rental inspections and problems between landlords and tenants in general.

Mayor Boyd Hoats Jr. said he has yet to examine the details of the proposal, but remained skeptical. "To be honest, I'm not really for it," Hoats said

Williams and Tuzinski said council President Joseph Chacke voiced concern about possibly having to defend the ordinance against lawsuits. They said Chacke suggested postponing action to see how Hazleton's proposal survives legal criticism for prempting pre-empting federal immigration laws or violating federal civil rights legislation.

Lieberman vs. Lamont

Blogger is not cooperating again, it won't let me post pictures. ( Ed: It is now)

I don't have a horse in this race. The only thing I know about Ned Lamont is that he is a rich guy who is against the war. I always liked Lieby on a personal level. But the thing that keeps coming back to me is something my wife said watching the debates in 2004.

"Lieberman sounds like a Republican."

Being the political junkie that I am I came home early from work to catch the results of the Connecticut Senate race. I found a live stream of the coverage at WNYC -AM. Right now they are saying with 19% of the precincts reporting Lamont is leading 56-44%. I hate hearing only percentages, give me numbers and where they are coming from. They are also saying that turnout may approach 50%. Unheard of in a primary. At 9:23PM the spread is 54-46% with 38% of precincts reporting. More to come.

At 10:35 they are saying it's Lamont 52-48% with Lamont winning by 9,000 votes. But with a much lower turnout. The first numbers I have heard tonight. With 93% of precints reporting it's Lamont 134,000 to Lieby's 125,000 (52-48).

11:00 Lieby concedes but he is running as an independent. Now he he is giving a bullshit speech attacking Ned Lamont saying he is tired of partisan politics. Partisanship, partisanship. Hey Joementum let Rumsfeld retire.

This is Hardball now. I just heard that he needs 7,500 signatures to get a ballot spot as an independent. Better than PA.

I'm listening to Lamont now and he is giving his stump speech. He just said bring our troops home. That is going to resonate with many voters.

The War on Drugs

Left Independent highlights an article from The Nation by Ira Glasser about the electoral consequences of the draconian and futile drug laws in this country. How many times have you heard a politician promise to lock up all the drug dealers if elected. That policy has been a huge success as the Luzerne County prison is overflowing and more people than even seem to be doing drugs. I don't have the answer to the problem but locking people up for the last 50 years hasn't worked. As Pat says:

The right wing Democrats have been able to get by poaching the GOP moderates to achieve their majority. But even this is failing them now as the numbers of disenfranchised grow so large that they, along with gerrymandering, apportionment manipulation, ballot access and polling place denial of access have achieved a critical mass that today denies anyone national elective office if they do not adopt a right wing 'family values' agenda over the constitutional values of social justice, civil liberties and human rights. This is why, since 1995, I have not voted for drug warrior Democrats.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Public service annoucement

Check this out:

Banned abuser
I got tagged and I'm no too happy about it. The slave diver Jane, who reminds me of a teacher I had in jr high school, gave us homework again. I'm supposed to tell you things that are wierd about me. This will be once and only time I will I respond to a chain letter. And I will not tag anyone else.

Most of the discussion centers around food. I will try anything. I have eaten alligator and rattle snake enjoyed an Ostrich burger and always look for a restaurant that serves snails.

In music I enjoy everything from The Sex Pistols to Brahms.

I love to be outside but I don't like to camp. If god wanted us to wake up in the morning in the cold and rain he wouldn't have invented Holiday Inn.

I can quote the Holy Grail, the Hitchhikers Guide, Shakespeare and the Bible.

Today I enjoyed a pleasant day in my back yard. I read a book and played some jazz.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Abraham Nunez leads the way

The Phillies have won 4 in a row and have taken 8 of the last 10 since Abraham "the Exorcist" Nunez has taken over at third base. He was 2 for 4 in the victory over the Mets last night. On the down side Chase Utley's hit streak ended at 35 games and Wolf only lasted 4 innings. When the Phil's get back to the norm of blowing leads and leaving the bases loaded they should consider dumping more players.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Phire sale

I sometimes like to wait a day or two before commenting on the news that really matters. The Phillies traded five of their top players for a bunch of minor leaguers most of whom will never see the show. In the process they dumped a lot of salary and didn't have to eat any of it like they did with Jim Thome. The reports I've seen say they have about 40 or 50 million dollars to play with (based on this year's payroll) to improve the team. The question is will they put the money back into the players or will the owners just pocket the difference to make up for the lost revenue in attendence?

A few thoughts about the players that have departed. The big name to move was Bobbu Abreu. He hits .300 every year, gets a hundred walks and might be the most patient hitter in the game. I was watching the Yankmeee game today and watched him turn an 0-2 count into a double at 3-2 and then scored. Another one of my favorite players Sal Fasano was also dealt to NY and they made him shave his foo man choo mustache. Back-up catchers will always have a job. Corey Liddle is a solid starter and did well today in his first start for the Yanks. I was hoping that Rheal Cormier would end up in Boston but he went to the contending Reds. But the biggest addition by subtraction was dumping David Bell. I would have paid the other team to take him.

The result of all this that the Phillies just swept the Cardinals. Go figure. In fact they have only lost one game since they lifted all the bad Karma with the Bell trade. One of my favorite baseball blogs- I've Made a Huge Tiny Mistake-gives all the credit to Abraham Nunez taking over at 3rd base.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Don Sherwood catches some flack

Barbara Sundin of Lewisburg, who participated in the protest said, "After Sherwood was asked about veterans benefits and funding, he replied,

"1000 WWII veterans are dying every day so we have fewer veterans."

The dog days of summer are supposed to be the slow time for politics as the conventional wisdom is that people don't get interested until after Labor Day. Not this year. The race for Governor is a snooze but the Senate race has been lively especially with the revelation that Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli sold his soul for a ballot spot. Now Don (R- Tunkhannock Strangler) Sherwood has added some spice to the mix.

LEWISBURG -Ten protesters shrugged off the intense afternoon heat to publicly oppose U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood's re-election bid as the incumbent attended a fundraising event in Lewisburg Tuesday night.

Protester John Cooper said the primary election showed support for the congressman among the GOP is slipping. "Look how many people voted for Kathy Scott," Mr. Cooper said, referring to the politically unknown Williamsport Republican who had a surprisingly strong showing in the May primary election against Mr. Sherwood.

Mr. Sherwood dismissed the small protest, the first he said he's encountered on the campaign trail, as "people who wouldn't vote for me or any Republican for any reason."
As an incumbent, he said, his record is available for all to critique and he's proud of the job he's done.

Mr. Sherwood's opponents also waste no time in raising his confidential settlement last year of a $5.5 million assault and battery lawsuit filed by his mistress. The married, 65-year-old congressman has admitted to having a five-year affair with the 30-year-old woman but denied assaulting her. On Tuesday, one of the protesters carried a sign that raised that issue and chided Mr. Sherwood for not supporting veterans.

The police were called to get rid of the group and the officer decided they were not breaking the law. Then the hotel manager then turned a hose on them but they stood there and enjoyed the cool water. Chris Carney's reaction to all this is here.

Sherwood's big business friends are coming to his rescue. The US Chamber bought $110,000 in air time to "congratulate" him on voting for the new Medicare prescription drug plan. Like he had a choice. I've seen an almost identical ad for Santorum. Why would this supposedly independent group do this? One opinion:

Don Sherwood has taken over $53,000 from big pharmaceutical manufacturers, the health insurance lobby, and HMOs," said Chris Carney. "Last year, Sherwood voted to make it illegal for the government to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors. Today, our seniors are saddled with higher costs for prescription drugs and drug makers are raking in higher profits."

"Now, Don Sherwood's special interest buddies are spending over $110,000 to buy TV ads for him," said Carney. "What will Don Sherwood vote for next? I fully expect more corporate giveaways that hurt seniors and working families."

The story does not end with the big drug manufacturers donations to Don Sherwood.
"Don Sherwood has received over $58,000 from big oil, gas, and energy companies," said Chris Carney. "Last year, Sherwood voted for the Bush administration's energy bill. This year our families are paying the price - $3 per gallon for gas, while big oil reaps huge profits."

Remember what happened to the Golgafrinchans

Another reason not to get a cell phone. First there was evidence that they caused brain tumors, now this.

Wash your hands, caller.

Your mobile phone could be a major health hazard, research shows.
With tens of thousands of microbes living on each square inch, they harbour more bacteria than a lavatory seat, the sole of a shoe or a door handle. Microbiologists say the combination of constant handling and the heat generated by the phones creates a prime breeding ground for all sorts of bugs that are normally found on our skin.

They include Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause illnesses from pimples and boils to pneumonia and meningitis and is a close relative of the superbug MRSA.

Joanna Verran, professor of microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "Mobile phones are stored in bags or pockets, are handled frequently and held close to the face.
"In other words, they come into contact with more parts of our body and a wider range of bacteria than toilet seats. The phones contained more skin bacteria than any other object. This could be due to the fact that this type of bacteria increase in high temperatures and our phones are perfect for breeding these germs as they are kept warm and cosy in pockets, handbags and briefcases."

What did happen to the Golgafrinchans?

The telephone sanitizer is a profession involved in the plot thread relating to the planet Golgafrinchan in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

The Golgafrinchans sent their Telephone Sanitizer population away, along with the rest of the useless third of their population to form a colony on a remote planet (Earth as it happens). Ironically, the remaining Golgafrinchan population was then wiped out by a virulent disease contracted via unsanitary telephones.

Kanjorski responds to the Hazleton immigration ordinance

I recently asked both candidates running for the 11th CD seat about their thoughts on the Hazleton immigration controversy. Dr. Joseph F. Leonardi the Republican Candidate gave us his thoughts earlier. Today I received a response from Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding my position on the Illegal Alien Relief Act Ordinance recently adopted by the City of Hazleton.

Our immigrant heritage has helped make Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the United States, what we are today. And while we must remain true to our historic role as a beacon of freedom and opportunity, our government must take appropriate steps to protect American citizens and taxpayers from the real costs and security risks associated with illegal immigration.

In my view, the issue of illegal immigration is of the utmost importance and must be effectively and immediately addressed by the federal government. While I sympathize with communities around the country struggling with an influx of illegal immigrants, including the City of Hazleton, I believe it is the responsibility of the President and the Congress to address this issue. Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that jurisdiction over this matter rests at the federal level.

Because legal questions would undoubtedly arise as a result of the well-intentioned actions of Mayor Barletta and the Hazleton City Council, I requested an analysis from the experts at the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) to determine how the ordinance pertains to current federal law. I also requested this analysis because of my concerns about a potential financial burden being placed on Hazleton taxpayers to pay for legal fees in defense of the ordinance. CRS concluded that under federal law "there is reason to believe that state and federal courts would be precluded on preemption grounds from enforcing many aspects of the...ordinance, as such matters are already regulated."

However, President Bush has the responsibility, as well as the authority, to effectively enforce our nation's laws to prevent illegal immigration and to shut off the employment magnet that draws illegal immigrants to the United States. In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act with my support. This legislation sought to end unauthorized employment of illegal aliens by imposing penalties on employers who knowingly hire or continue to employ aliens not authorized to work in the United States.

Unfortunately, under the Bush Administration, enforcement of these laws, especially those pertaining to the hiring of illegal immigrants by those seeking cheap labor, has declined significantly. According to CRS, worksite arrests fell from 17,552 in 1997 to 445 in 2003. Fines collected from companies illegally hiring undocumented aliens declined from almost $3.7 million in 1999 to $62,000 in 2005. Finally, according to government statistics, between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and its successor agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, were scaled back by 95 percent.

All Americans should be very concerned about the Bush Administration's failure to enforce our existing immigration laws and prevent illegal immigration. For these reasons, as well as my concerns about securing our nation's borders to prevent terrorism, I supported legislation in December 2005 known as H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. This legislation seeks to enforce and strengthen our nation's current immigration laws, protect our southern border, prevent companies from hiring illegal immigrants and increase penalties on those that do, and forgo ill-conceived proposals that grant amnesty.

From my perspective, our nation's immigration system should ensure our national security, protect American workers, and penalize corporate wrongdoers. Above all, we must first secure our borders and prevent illegal immigration. We must also continue to ensure that, like our ancestors, those who respect our laws and come here legally have the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families through the pursuit of the American Dream.

In addition, I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 997, the English Language Unity Act. If enacted into law, this legislation would declare English as the official language of the United States. Consequently, it would require that all official functions of the United States be conducted in English. It would also require a uniform testing of English language ability of all candidates for naturalization, ensuring that candidates could read the English texts of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other significant U.S. laws.

In my view, the use of English as a common language remains vital to our nation's prosperity. Throughout our history, immigrants coming to our shores have studied English in order to become successful entrepreneurs and workers. By declaring English as the official language, we will help to ensure that such prosperity and success can continue.

Again, thank you for contacting me on this issue. Please feel free to contact me again about any other matter of interest or concern to you.

Paul E. Kanjorski Member of Congress

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What about Tom Martin?

Thanks to Alex for pointing out this article in the PG. It's funny that we focused on different things:

State officials last night also were counting petition signatures submitted by the Libertarian Party's U.S. Senate candidate, Tom Martin.

It's an outrage that Russ Diamond had over 38,000 signatures and still didn't get his name on the ballot. And Hagan Smith of the Constitution Party, also failed to meet the requirement for ballot access. He had about 20,000 signatures. Things have to change, if you can get that many people to sign your petition you should be on the ballot.

We all know that Wilkes-Barre's own Carl Romanelli and his fellow Green Party candidates appear to have enough signatures. We will see if the petitions will stand up to the challenges that are sure to come. Paying people to circulate petitions usally results in a lot of padding to meet the quota. The Greens didn't have enough volunteers to do the job so they outsourced it. I hope they paid those people a "living wage." Who paid for this effort? TPM (via 2 Political Junkies)has the scoop:

The party raised $66,000 for the effort, all of which they spent on a private company to collect signatures. TPMmuckraker was able to establish that at least $55,000 of that came from conservatives.....The $66,000 came from twenty donors, in contributions ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. None of the donors have a history of giving to the Green Party.....The Green Party of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania hadn't received a dime in contributions before June of this year. The $66,000 given in that month was an amazing take for a Green Party committee, almost equalling the total ($77,160) received during the 2006 election cycle by all other local and state Green Party committees in the country combined.

Why should Ricky help a Green? Remember Vince Galko, his campaign manager, says it is because of his interest in free debate. "Democrats, Republicans and independents all agree that the democratic process should be open and welcoming to people of differing positions," Galko said in a letter posted on Santorum's Web site.

So why didn't they help Tom Martin?

Slobby has more about illegal campaign donations.

Lou argues the merits.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Less people, more development and we wonder why there is more flooding

Luzerne County has been losing people for almost a hundred years yet more farmland and forests are being paved over then the stormwater runoff creates havoc every other year. Do you think there might be a connection?

Flood of progress?

Bulldozers charge through Dallas Township, clearing farmland and taming wild gamelands. New homes spring up as pavers pour streams of asphalt, creating roads for future residents. Miles to the south, older roads are eroded and decades-old homes are damaged by the unprecedented flooding of a creek that has its origins in Dallas Township.

The developers don't think so.

“A lot of people are blaming development for flooding, and that is such a fallacy,” developer John Halbing said. “The development in the last 10 or 15 years since the Toby Creek Watershed ordinance has actually reduced the flooding.”

As usual politics gets in the way of comprehensive solution as the towns on the west side can't get on the same page to address the problem.

North Branch Land Trust Executive Director Frank Oliver considers it unfortunate the communities’ attempt at a regional plan fell through.“It’s a bad harbinger for the future. How could you have just gone through the flooding in the last month and not realize that what one township or community does in approving development affects the downstream communities?” Oliver said. “When you take down trees, every tree can absorb hundreds of pounds of water. If you continue to take down trees and develop along stream beds, you are going to get flooding.”

The North Branch Land Trust is a great outfit that has been successful in preserving the beauty and open landscapes that sustain us. The chairman of the outfit is the Gort family veterinarian and life long friend Dr. Douglas Ayers. Doug was recently successful in preserving the Hillside farm and dairy in Dallas saying this "is not going to be turned into a Walmart." He not only talks the talk but backs it up with his actions.

He is now planning a large addition to the Plains Animal Hospital using the architectural skills of Rob Lewis (another founding member of BMRLT). His dream is to provide all veterinary services in one location. But, as an active member of the Association of Veterinarians for the Environment, he recognizes that his practice must be as ecologically sustainable as possible. To that end, the new building will have light tubes to cut down on artificial lighting, porous surfaces in the parking area, solar hot water heaters, and will include many other conservation measures.