Sunday, December 30, 2007
The year in review-2007
I was going to do a long post about 2007 but you know what happened and I'm taking a few days off.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
YouTube weekend-classical edition
A guy rants about how much it sucks to play Pachelbel's Canon in D on a cello. Recorded live at Penn State, this piece is by comedian/musician Rob Paravonian.
I think he had a similar childhood to Virgil Starkwell who played the cello in a marching band as depicted in the movie Take the Money and Run.
And for the few people who have never heard Pachelbel's Canon in D
Swiderski filed for bankruptcy
Friday, December 28, 2007
Here is his letter:
It’s time for county officials to move out and move on
As a former member of the Government Study Commission who helped draft the Home Rule Charter a few years ago, I just wanted to remind the voters of Luzerne County that there are copies of that wonderful document floating around.
I say this just in case anyone would like to dust off one and see where we might be instead of where we are.
We thought we had a good shot at passing the charter, but should have known that many voters would listen to the naysayers and fall for the line of bull-droppings from the candidates at the time.
Remember how Skrep and Todd told everyone how we do not need such a document and that it is not the system, but the people?
Well, let me see ... those who knocked the charter were put in office and now we see the same good-old-boy network: lies, deceit, “honest mistakes,” a sneaky $20-million weight on the taxpayers’ shoulders, a $14-million surprise that pops up right after Election Day and no one volunteering to resign. Go figure.
But this is the way Luzerne County works. First, pick a high-profile name. Don’t worry about expertise, or experience or common sense. Who needs those when you have a “D” on your voter registration?
Then let “The Machine” brainwash voters to vote a straight ticket. One click and you’re out the door. Quick and painless, right? Why waste time studying the candidates’ backgrounds or where they stand on issues?
It is obvious now, isn’t it?
Maybe people will take voting seriously next time, stop listening to the so-called hotshot politicians, forget about big names and favors and knock “The Machine” into oblivion. See where voting “D” got us?
But whether the person is a “D,” an “R” or an “I” should not matter. It is the integrity of the person, something we are lacking as far as politicians go in this Valley.
This latest fiasco with the current leadership should embarrass them to resign immediately. If you are too stupid not to know what should be charged and what should not be charged, or if you can’t tell the difference between a county debit card and personal debit card, you should not be in a position to make decisions for thousands of people.
It is time for all involved to step up and step out. Saying they are not going to resign over this is just pure arrogance and shows they have no regard for the people they represent.
It’s a no-brainer. All leaders involved need to step down now. Their trust is shot, and it shows they have no common sense or character. They are admitting and finding receipts only because they got caught.
Skrep needs to lead the parade out the door. This went on for 21 months under his leadership (and Todd’s, who bailed out early, hmm?) Sorry, I digress.
So let’s get the TV crew there at the courthouse for the resignation parade next week and watch the stars of the county walk into the sunset. (Just make sure they don’t take the county credit/debit cards with them or drive off in a county vehicle. They would probably want to be reimbursed for gas to the unemployment office.)
Anyway, if you can find a copy of the proposed Home Rule Charter, read it for yourself and see the kind of county we could have been living in.
Maybe someone will step up and bring it to the people again. We did all the work; a new commission could take it and run with it.
Then maybe – just maybe, because of the pathetic record of the current majority, the financial nightmare we are facing and the never-ending political games – people will wise up.
So find a copy of the Home Rule Charter and head for the courthouse next week for the resignation parade and fan the stars of the parade with them as they go into the real world and find jobs that will not be protected or defended when they lie, steal or screw up big time.
One final thought: Tim Grier, have you thought of running for commissioner?
The state objected to paying a hefty profit to the owners of the facility for what is a basic government function.
The lesson is you don't outsource a public responsibility to enrich your friends.
Bringing home the bacon
There were 9,800 earmarks in the latest omnibus spending bill that Bush criticized but signed into law. That's kind of funny, the guy that has blown up the federal budget with the biggest expansion of the government since LBJ and signed every pork laded bill that the Republican Congress sent him now tut-tuts and tries to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility. And like Johnson, he won't ask the American people to pay for a war with no end in sight. The refusal to raise taxes for Vietnam started the last cycle of deficit spending.
A Google search of this bill has newspaper articles from all over the country listing the local projects that will be funded and our guys made sure that Northeast PA got it's share. The Scranton Times has a list of projects broken down by county that will be funded. I'm sure you can make a case for each one on the merits but the problem is the process. I don't see any Congress (Democrat or Republican) changing the rules so our local representatives did what we elected them to do, look out for our interests.
Most of the projects listed sound worthy such as $1.1 million for the Wyoming Valley Levee Raising Project and $98,840 for the Scranton Sewer Authority to help comply with a federal order to separate the city’s storm and sanitary sewer systems. Some others need further investigation like $150,000 for an economic development initiative at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre. I love the Kirby but why is federal money being pumped into the place?
According to USA Today Rep. Christopher Carney, D-Pa., who won in a heavily Republican district, secured the most money among the freshmen members. He was sole sponsor on 21 earmarks worth $18.2 million. That ranked him 48th among the 426 House members who requested earmarks.
In an e-mail, Carney spokeswoman Rebecca Gale called the earmarks "critical investments in the region's future."
One man's pork is another's vital economic development project. Until they change the rules I'll take the pork.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Crossing of the Delaware a bust
According to the Inky this year's re-enactment of George Washington's Delaware River crossing was scuttled because of the swift current much to the dismay of the the thousands of spectators and the Revolutionary War re-enactors who trained for months. (Tip of the Tricorne
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Chris Hackett responds
His response was published by the TL December 16th:
A recent letter to the editor (Sunday, December 2nd ) criticized my company for supporting the Wilkes University Outstanding Leaders Forum.
I’m proud of our support for the Wilkes University Forum, which has hosted such fine speakers as General Colin Powell and Mayor Rudy Giuliani in previous two years. While Forum sponsors like my company have no input in the selection of speakers, this year’s lecture was given by former Mexican President Vicente Fox, and because I strongly disagree with his immigration policies, I chose to register my protest.
Regarding U.S. immigration policy, I believe in what I call “high fences and wide gates” as the basis for a sound approach to our current challenge. As a descendant of Irish immigrants who came here legally, I greatly admire immigrants and America’s immigrant traditions. But in order for immigration to work, and for the rule of law to be respected, we must ensure that all immigration is done legally, and we must stop illegal immigration. I want our borders secure and legal immigration kept at levels that supports the continued growth and prosperity of America. I can understand why people from all over the world want to become Americans. If I lived anywhere else in the world I would come here too - legally. I believe that beyond immediately securing our borders, we need to fully enforce the immigration laws we have and never again go down the failed path of amnesty.
What’s ironic about the former Mexican President is that at the same time he did next to nothing to prevent Mexican citizens from illegally crossing our borders, he enforced very strict domestic immigration policies in Mexico. Mexican internal immigration policies include imprisoning or deporting violators, and banning even legal immigrants from many jobs. I would say the hypocrisy of President Fox is in itself worthy of protest.
He also sent me a longer explanation:
A recent letter to the editor (Sunday, December 2nd) criticized my company for supporting the Wilkes University Outstanding Leaders Forum. OneSource has supported the Wilkes University Forum since they started with General Colin Powell two years ago. The speaker last year was Americas’ Mayor Rudy Giuliani and I was pleased to attended the dinner and lecture.
We do not have any input into what speakers are selected and nor was I aware of who the speaker was prior to making a commitment. Didn't seem to be an issue given the prior selections! And the reason I attended the protest this year rather than the lecture is because of my profound disagreement with former Mexican President Vincente Fox.
I use the metaphor of “high fences and wide gates” to describe my solution to the current illegal immigrant crisis. As a descendant of immigrants who came here legally, I want secure borders and legal immigration at rational levels that allow for assimilation to maintain our unique American culture. I can understand why people from all over the world want to become Americans. And if I lived anywhere else in the world I would come here too - legally.
Mr. Fox calls people like me “xenophobes” for opposing an illegal immigration invasion from the south, but for his country he has a completely different standard. Under Mexican immigration law, which is certainly the toughest on the continent, visitors and immigrants must be able to pay their own way, be of good character and have no criminal record.
Anyone who violates immigration law is imprisoned or deported and those who aid in illegal immigration are sent to prison. These seem like reasonable measures to most of us, but Mr. Fox would like to export his troubles here rather than fix his own economy so that his people aren’t literally dying to come north to the U.S.
The government of Mexico also works hard to maintain a record of each visitor and their visa status. (If we did this here could we have prevented 9/11?) Even legal aliens in Mexico are banned from running for office and barred from many jobs even though foreign-born Mexicans are less than 0.5% of Mexico’s 105 million people. Arnold Schwarzenegger could not run for Governor and may not even be permitted to be a fireman in Mexico.
If the United States, with 13% of our population foreign-born, adopted such statutes, former President Fox would no doubt denounce it as a manifestation of American racism and bigotry. This kind of name-calling is the last defense of the indefensible policy of open borders.
A variation on Mexican immigration policy that was recently suggested by Judge Correale Stevens and would be welcome by most Americans is that federal, local and municipal police cooperate with federal immigration authorities to assist in the arrest of illegal immigrants. Mexico prevents repeat offenders by imprisoning for up to 10 years foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization.
I believe that beyond securing our border immediately, we simply need to enforce the immigration laws we have and never again go down the failed path of amnesty.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Bill Jones becomes a Democrat
Friday, December 21, 2007
The money primary: Meuser files early
Fun with numbers.
Of the 206 contributors to Meuser, 72 gave the maximum amount of $2300 and Hackett pulled in the max from 48 of his 79 contributors as of his September report. It must be nice to have that kind of loose change. I'm waiting for the 4th quarter reports from the other campaigns to get a better comparison.
Dan Meuser has a loyal workforce as 21 0f his contributors list Pride Mobility as their employer and have kicked in $29,700. And he has a supportive family with 12 people with the last name Meuser contributing the maximum of $2300. Nothing wrong with that, if you can't convince your family and co-workers to support your effort you have already lost.
6 Hackett's have pitched in the max for him. I couldn't find anyone named Carney making a donation.
Some other names contributing to Hackett include Republican stalwarts such as Bob Guzzardi and few people named Sordoni.
Meuser also has some familiar Republican names backing him such as Charles Flack, Bob Cordaro, AJ Munchak and former PA Attorney General Earnie Preate. This one surprised me, Jennifer Sherwood of Tunkhannock gave $1500.
Meuser is also showing some bipartisan appeal with long time Luzerne County Democratic lawyer John Moses kicking in $500 and multi-party real estate developer Robert Mericle who gave $10,000 to the present Democratic Luzerne County Commissioners this last time around giving him $2300. Mericle also gave money to Paul Kanjorski but so did Meuser.
The Pike County Courier : As far as the money race goes, Meuser said things are going well considering he did not start until after the November elections since he did “not want to take a dime away from any of the Republican candidates.”
When I looked at Meuser's FEC report I spotted 70 contributions totaling $$135,150 just in the month of October which was before the local election.
Of course I asked the Meuser campaign about that and they were good enough to respond:
Fundraising has been going extremely well. We have been humbled by the out pouring of support from friends, family, and republican activists that have contributed to this campaign, both in dollars and in their most precious commodity- time. Our campaign is one that continues to grow both financially and at the grassroots level. The quote you refer to is true, we did not hold any fundraisers until after the November elections. The last thing we wanted to do was take a penny that could have gone to local candidates.
Quite frankly, we did the opposite! We contributed thousands of dollars to help. Some of our supporters did send checks during October and we are grateful for their support. Our limited fundraising in this quarter still has us on track to raise the dollars we need to defeat Chris Carney in the fall.
The PAWaterCooler.com had this to say:
Some familiar names make an appearance in the disbursements.
Over $19,000 in payments to Hallowell, Branstetter and Long, and another $30,000 to State Street Strategies.
Both are owned by payraise architect Mike Long and SSS is operated by Ray Zaborney.
Update: Meuser's FEC report has been taken down with this explanation.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Officials want to hire consultant to review purchasing policies
I think hiring the army of consultants the last few years has contributed to this fiscal mess. We elected the commissioners to set policy and they hire people to manage our money but they're going to bring in people from outside to explain to them what is right from wrong ? You can write all the policies you want but if they are not enforced they're worthless. So the response to the ethical lapses and lack of basic math skills is to spend more money. Incredible.
In middle of this mess the local Chamber of Commerce shows up looking for a handout.
Chamber requests $3.5 M in loan forgiveness
I haven't looked at the merits of the proposal but boy is the timing bad. The county can't pay this years bills plus things aren't looking good for next year and these guys want to renege on paying back some loans. Only in Luzerne County can a Democratic politician resign his office to head up the local Chamber then come back to that same body to ask for a sweetheart deal.
Other Debit Card news:
Deputy Warden Sam Hyder has not provided receipts for all his charges and was ordered to pay back anything he can't document but he wasn't fired, Yet. Skrep backs him for now but I think he will be thrown under the bus in an attempt to save the rest of their asses. The rest of the Magnificent Seven also some explaining to do.
Some people came out to protest what has been going on:
Protesters insist Skrep resign
Taxpayers Demand Resignations in Luzerne County
And one guy is going to file a criminal complaint. W-B: Joseph Naperkowski said he wants justice for Luzerne County taxpayers.
He plans to file a private criminal complaint against the seven officials using county-issued debit cards this morning with Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas’ office.
Lupas will either blow it off or kick it down the road to the PA Attorney General who has already said that he won't investigate because of the Secret Service investigation. And what about that probe by an agency of almost universal acclaim in the investigation of financial crimes. This quote didn't make me confident.
WILKES-BARRE- The U.S. Secret Service field office in Philadelphia has requested a copy of the debit-card internal audit being conducted by the Luzerne County Controller’s Office, county Controller Maryanne Petrilla said Wednesday...Just because the Secret Service is investigating the debit-card usage, it doesn’t automatically mean the case will lead to criminal prosecution, Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Robert Slama said.
“A lot of times we can suggest best business practices, set up a system of checks and balances, internal audits, impartial review and other general business accounting practices,” Slama said.
Forget the Secret Service and the Attorney General the agency that matters in this is the IRS.
I think it's pretty simple. If the people who had the debit cards in 2006 and charged personal expenses to it without declairing it as income on that year's 1040 will have to answer to charges of tax evasion.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Holiday greetings from the mean one
ENJOY YOUR CHRISTMAS, IF HILLARY'S ELECTED IT WILL BE YOUR LAST!!!
By Mean Old Man
I'm angrier than Britney Spears in a rehab center over the fact that this may be the very last year that all God fearing Christians can celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! When the Lezbo-Nazi Hillary Clinton becomes President next year you may as well not bother fetching the ol' ax to chop down your Christmas tree or sifting out the tree lights from the attic because Madam President will have declared anyone caught celebrating the sacred holiday of Christmas to be considered an insurgent. Damn!!!!
And don't even attempt to put decorations in your windows or lights on your house--you'll probably be arrested for wasting energy (after all, the commie hippies need all the electric power they can muster for all those PETA, MOVE ON.ORG and Greenpeace meetings). Al Gore will probably be Secretary of Energy, selling his goofy environmental book and video (no doubt, a mandatory purchase); oh well, what more can you expect when a woman takes power. As I told the Missus, if the computer savvy college boy liberals hadn't stolen last year's election from our Sainted Sen. Santorum, ol' Rick would be leading this year's pack of GOP candidates and would have been our next President. Damn!!!
Women today have it too easy and they have gotten lazy. In my day a woman knew her place and it wasn't in the White House, unless one was "lucky" enough to be dating FDR. And speaking of Mr. Big Government, none of this crap would have happened if FDR had been man enough to keep his wife Eleanor in the White House kitchen where she belonged. But instead he was a henpecked sap who kept his mouth shut while she raised up a whole army of commie women who were hell bent on taking over and ruining all of the fun for the true women. Even my wife Thelma Jean was taken in; for years she was happy using the ol' wringer washer--you threw the clothes in and when they were done you took 'em out and ran 'em through the sprockets to wring the water out. Sometimes your fingers would get caught in the sprockets and it hurt like hell--sometimes the little woman would even lose a finger or two, but she loved it!!! And it sure was a lot better compared to heading down to the creek to beat clothes off of rocks!! Then some Commie invents a washer that does the whole job on its own (putting women on the road to Bon Bon Avenue in Lazytown) and every woman wants one. Damn!!! I wouldn't have even bought her one except for the fact that she probably would have cracked my skull with her trusty pie roller, had I refused. Of course, all of that mushroomed into her wanting a electric oven (as if the trusty ol' coal stove wasn't good enough), a self defrosting fridge and on and on. I drew the line at an electric can opener and still bear the scar on my forehead for that dumb decision!! Thanks a lot commies!!!
The whole country is going to go down hill once Hillary is President. Every woman is going to be wearing those Chinese Commie pant suits and cutting their hair short. Hey, just because Hillary and her spawns wanted to be born as men and weren't ain't my fault--they should complain to God; though that would be a hard sell since they don't even believe in God!!!
So all you Commies enjoy this Christmas; I'm sure that next year Hillary will probably come to your place with Bin Laden, Castro and Kofi Annan and you can all sing "Happy Days Are Here Again" as they're tearing down your Christmas tree and ticketing you for illegal use of electricity. As for me, I'll be sitting next to the fire with my trusty rifle sipping on a Steg, lighting up a Lucky Strike and listening to "Silent Night" by the great Andy Williams; throwing in a little John Philip Sousa for good measure. Hell, with the shape my country's going to end up in, we could all use some real American music!!
Now to show the goodness in my heart I am announcing the gifts that Thelma Jean and I are buying for some of the citizens of Bloggerville.
GORT: THE COMPLETE WORKS OF KARL MARX
DR. RICK: THE HARDCOVER VERSION OF HILLARY CLINTON'S "IT TAKES A VILLAGE"
ABOVE AVERAGE JANE: A PAIR OF HAND WOVEN POT HOLDERS (COURTESY OF THELMA JEAN); EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ONE WHILE WORKING IN THE KITCHEN (WHERE THEY BELONG)
All you remaining commie know nothings can wait for the rest of the list (I'll let you in on a little secret), DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!!!
Have fun you heathens; enjoy your Christmas; enjoy your electric power; and ladies, enjoy your long hair and dresses before it all comes to an end next year; twirphead morons!!! Damn You! I hate you all!!!!
PEACE ON EARTH AND GOODWILL TOWARD MEN.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Luzerne County Debit Cards
As we watch the snow fall I wondered about an article that was written on December 10th about Commissioner Skrepenak defending Sam Hyder's Job. I reread the article just to make sure I had my facts straight before I came up with an argument and here goes. Commissioner Skrepenak serves both on the Prison Board, as head of the Commissioners and also on several other posts. Why do our elected officials do such? Now with all the flap surrounding the debit cards whose name continually comes up? Your name Commissioner Skrepenak. He was quoted as saying "For future training, whatever will save the taxpayers money." After four years you have finally figured that out, congratulations. So here is how I will help Commissioner Skrepenak. I looked at the place where Sam Hyder stayed in Canandaigua, NY and went online to check prices. I was rather intrigued to know that online I can stay at a Super 8 in the same city for an average cost of 68.00 a night and breakfast is included. There's also an econolodge for 72.00 and a motel for 56.00 a night. I'm aware that a Super 8 doesn't seem like a great place but this wasn't his vacation, he was on taxpayer dollars. Instead Sam Hyder stayed at The Inn on the Lake at a nice average cost of 164.00 a night. Don't believe me , spend five minutes online like I did and you'll be amazed or disgusted. I don't know if 42,000 dollars means little to the Commissioners or not but that pays for a Children and Youth worker's salary or someone who actually contributes to the welfare of Luzerne County. Thanks Commissioner, Sam Hyder and anyone else that couldn't take the time to research and save taxpayers money. Now I hope you enjoy Mr. Grier's challenge because you brought this upon yourselves. Maybe now someone will resign or be fired because your failure to act over this says more than your empty "we're going to save the taxpayers money," routine that we keep hearing from you.
Paul Stebbins Jr.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Protest on the Courthouse lawn
Dear Fellow Taxpayers,
Please be aware that there will be a Rally on the Luzerne County Courthouse Lawn on Dec 17th at 9 AM to make the Luzerne County Prison Board remove Deputy Director Sam Hyder from his position. This is a Rally that will be very important to the integrity of the government in Luzerne County. Sam Hyder is one of the seven people that have abused his power asdeputy warden and has used his County issued debit card for purchases that were not authorised by his department supervisor. This is a direct violation of County Policy and the taxpayers must rally for accountability by having the Prison Board fire Sam Hyder. Please be prompt as the Prison Board meeting will start at 9:15 AM and we need to be there to show that the taxpayers will not allow this type of insubordination in our county government. I understand that Sam Hyder is in the process of getting his people together to make sure he has support there for himself. Let's all show the County Government that we are going to voice our displeasure with this type of behavior.
Bloggers in the news
Or in this case on the newscast.
Tonight the LuLac Political Letter had the opportunity to be part of the WYOU TV Interactive Newscast at 5, 530, 6 and 11PM. We were speaking about the financial mess in Luzerne County. Fellow guest, Kevin Lynn and I tried to sort out the story with help from WYOU TV viewers, e mailers and callers. It was a great opportunity and I'd like to thank the good people as well as Anchor Candace Grossklaus for keeping order in the spirited debate. Thank you to WYOU for their hospitality.
I only caught the 11PM edition because David didn't let us know he was going to be on TV until after the 6PM show and I usually don't watch local news anyway. Being in the presence of Candace Grossklaus may make him rethink his Geena Davis obsession.
Another Monkey wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the CV about the passing of Al Scaduto the author of the comic They’ll Do It Every Time but the the CV butchered it. That's why we blog my friend.
The Pike County Courier had a nice roundup of the republican 10th CD candidates that had this interesting tidbit at the end.
Aside from the parties’ national committees, the internet and blogosphere has also been keeping close tabs on the race, with sites likes grassrootspa.com and blogs such as gort42.blogspot.com sometimes picking up more hits than the candidate’s own Web sites. For more on the primary race, please visit www.pikecountycourier.com .
A big thank you to reporter Nick Troiano.
Show Your Blog Space Day
I love Cindy
Every time I post this video the evil Viacom Company gets it deleted. So I'll keep posting it and the lawyers for Viacom will get richer. Yes, Viacom is evil and I don't even have words to describe Comcast.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
They had the money
A TAN is taken by almost all local governments to bridge the gap between ongoing expenses and the time when property taxes start rolling in. Why they can't budget for this drop off in cash flow is another question. Most local governments pay off their TANS well before the end of the year but not Luzerne County and every year they push it off to the end of the year then borrow more money just to fund last year's payroll and other expenses. It's been going on forever.
Back to my original point. The county tax bills go out in the spring and many people like us pay them early to get the 2% discount so they had the money in the coffers to pay it off by June. In 2003 Commissioner Steve Urban and then-Commissioner Tom Makowski voted to borrow roughly $9 million for a new county-owned juvenile facility. It was never built because Skrep and Vondy outsourced a government function at an outrageous price with a 20 year contract to boot. Some people think that this bond issue is so loosely written so the Commissioners can bail out PA Child Care, the owners of the Pittston facility. But anyway they had the $9 million from that bond in the bank but instead of holding on to it for an emergency like this one they spent it on other things. Just think if they just hung onto the money they could have used it to pay off the TAN.
This is just the kind of thing that I have been objecting to for a long time. Borrow money for one purpose then spend it on another, it's not right. Tim Grier read the law and found out that they have not been following it.
Friday, December 14, 2007
More snow on the way
WHY IS EVERYONE SO DAMNED WIMPY DURING A SNOWSTORM?!?!?!?!
By Mean Old Man
I'm happier than Michael Jackson at a pre school that we are about to have a blizzard this weekend! Of course, all the namby pamby liberals are hurrying to their BMW's to go to the grocery stores to stock up on milk and eggs and bread. God, what a bunch of sissies!!!
In my day we had real snowstorms; you'd wake up in the morning and the white stuff would be up to your window on the second floor. And then you had to dig a path out to the 'ol outhouse to do your business. By the time you got back into the house you were shivering and your whole body was numb from near frostbite--and if you complained about it the old man would crack you across the face. It was tough, hard and bitter--and we loved it!!!
And we didn't have fancy snow blowers to remove the stuff either. Back then you grabbed the trusty shovel and dug out with nothing but your ol' arms to depend on. I remember one time my old man told me to clear a path for the milk man and I snuck in the back to sneak a Lucky--of course, he caught me and laid a shiner on my eye the size of Montana! I remember continuing the shoveling and seeing the blood dripping on the white snow. Ol' Pops told me to make sure not to get any of the blood on the sidewalk or he'd shine up my other eye just for good measure! Pops was the greatest; I miss him a lot.
And what is it with these little liberal twirpheads running around in snowsuits??? In my day we were lucky to have a coat and a stocking cap. And you'd come inside and the snow on your clothes would melt and you'd be dripping like a faucet. Then Mom would start screaming about her floor and wack you one with her trusty pie roller. It hurt like Hell, but as Mom said, "at least it takes your mind off of the cold weather". Ol' Mom always knew best! Not like the fascist commie Moms of today, what with their fancy child seats in the back of the car and all the sissie stuff designed to ruin the fun of being a kid.
All the Commies with their environmental mumbo jumbo have ruined the great weather we used to have. They send up their rocket ships to the moon and we get droughts in the southland and rain in the north (where we don't need it). I remember Winters where it snowed everyday--a foot of snow everyday!! Sometimes kids would get lost and wouldn't be found til next Spring!! And we had to walk to school whether it snowed or not--five miles back and forth (with no commie snowsuits to wear); We loved it!!! Nowadays it's different; kids have those fancy school buses to cart them a quarter mile and they have no appreciation for the pain of being a kid. My stupid grandkids even get my geeky sons to drive them to school--can you imagine that?!!!!!!!!! The only way Ol' Pops would ever drive me to school was if he kicked my butt for cussing and I landed in the schoolyard! Damn!!!
So, all you commies out there, enjoy the blizzard. Maybe you'll come to appreciate the hard winters that I used to have to deal with. Maybe you'll forget to go to the store and starve for a day (unless you're stocked up on Chinese commie rice); and maybe, just maybe, my stupid sons will lose at least one of my grandkids in the snow and I can have a peaceful Yuletide. As for me, I'm lighting up a Lucky, popping open a Steg and listening to the soothing sounds of Lawrence Welk while Thema Jean cooks some venison stew. Enjoy the snow; I hate you all!!!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
PA 10th CD news
Swiderski makes it official. From a press release:
Local Small Business Owner Officially Announces Candidacy for Congress
EXETER TOWNSHIP, PA - Paul R. Swiderski, MBA, a self-employed accountant and small business consultant has officially announced his candidacy for U.S Representative in the 10th congressional district. I filed the appropriate papers with the Federal Election Commission in October, but I decided to delay the campaign by two months because my wife and I recently had a new baby. My family and I decided that it was best to wait until we were accustomed to our new life changes before kicking off the campaign, said Paul.
I am running to represent the people of the 10th Congressional District. Our elected officials generally don't represent anyone except their own interests, which solves none of the problems we have here in NEPA, elsewhere in the U.S. and overseas. Politics as usual needs to end, and if we are going to make any changes we need to begin electing into office individuals who truly care about the people they are supposed to represent and people who are serious about restoring America and fighting to protect traditional values.
Millionaires trying to buy their way into Congress, large corporate executives, and politicians who have been in office way too long are out of touch with the people they are supposed to represent. They don't live the same way as the voters in the district do. They don't experience the same problems that most people in the district do. They certainly can't relate to the voters and therefore cannot effectively represent the people.
Among the candidates competing for the opportunity to take back the seat lost to Chris Carney last election, only I can relate to, in all respects, the people, values and issues impacting the people of the 10th Congressional District. I am neither a millionaire, corporate executive, nor an experienced politician. I am merely a small business owner in NEPA who has the same concerns as most of the people in the district. The need for affordable quality health insurance, lower gas prices and home heating costs, lower taxes, and accountability in government top the list of concerns.
With an education from Bishop Hoban High School (now Holy Redeemer) and a B.S. degree in accounting from King's College, Paul has his roots grounded firmly in the soil of northeastern Pennsylvania. Aside from being a businessman, Paul enjoys spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and foraging. He is also a proud Christian and family man: fortunate to be the husband to the most beautiful wife in the world and blessed with three wonderful children, ages 6, 2, and 5 weeks.
Interview update: I will be meeting with Paul just after the New Year and Dan Meuser the week before. As we get closer I'll put up an open thread for your questions.
Luzerne County is up against the wall
TL: Speaking through county Public Information Officer Kathy Bozinski, Skrepenak said he is confident the county “did everything it possibly could to reach out to Tim Grier and try to resolve this issue.”
I can't find a link but I'm sure I read that Grier said that he has not been contacted by Skrep. The crux of the problem is twofold. Skrep and company wants to borrow $93.5 million to fund a bunch of wish list projects in Wilkes-Barre and elsewhere without providing the details. The other part of the new bond is to fund this year's deficit and pay off a Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) that is due by the end of the year. I always thought that a TAN was to to bridge the gap for a couple of months before the property taxes come in then the taxes would pay it off. In this case it looks like the Commissioners had no intention of paying off that note but wanted to push it off to the next year. Now Plan B has to kick in.
Now the big worry is paying off the TAN or the county will have to shut down. They could go to the court and get permission to take a loan that would have to be paid off in 10 years but they want to bury it into yet another bond issue that stretch out the the payments over 20 years.
The county is now scrambling to find $10 million to cover the 2007 tax anticipation loan and they just might do it. Or maybe not because the numbers don't add up.
Budget and finance says $3.2 million is left. Other officials have other figures.
The Debit Card thing is just a symptom of the disease. I'll return to the Debit Cards but we need a moniker for this scandal that doesn't end in gate.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The Ron Paul Blimp
Republican presidential candidate and Internet sensation Ron Paul doesn't need Oprah. He doesn't need connections to the hot-shot politicians. He just needs a blimp.
Ron Paul's supporters are sending up a blimp for an East Coast tour from North Carolina, through DC and New York, to Boston. According to the flight plan on the Ron Paul Blimp site, the balloon will launch Wednesday in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and then travels north, flying over Boston, Worcester, and New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, December 16, the website for the Ron Paul Blimp Tour organizers says the blimp will dump tea into the harbor at 7:00 pm.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here come the Feds
Some county officials have admitted to debit card misuse, but they insist it was accidental.
If these guys had as many this many "accidents" with their vehicles I'm sure their car insurance would be cancelled. Well maybe not if you're driving a county provided Chevy Tahoe that you take home at night and even when you're on vacation.
From the TL: "I’m going to talk with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and confer with the FBI to come up with an investigative plan. If the information warrants it, we will move forward with the investigation.”-Robert Slama, special agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Philadelphia.
I would also suggest that the Internal Revenue Service be called in to look at this because it's obvious that these people were using taxpayer money to fund their personal expenses. The out of town trips are bad enough but how do you account for a dinner at Top of the 80's near Hazleton or Patte's Sports Bar in Wilkes-Barre?
It's about time that the Feds take a look at the shenanigans that have been going on around here for as long as I can remember.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
They paid it back
And we're supposed to be satisfied that the personal expenses charged to the county are OK because when they said it was some sort of mistake? This reminds me of the guys that were running ADELPHIA that got caught using company money to fund their lifestyles that the feds decided was income tax evasion. Sorry Greg, once you lose the public trust you can't get it back.
Skrep must be reading the blogs... “Members of the media, particularly the electronic media, have continued to beat the same horse.”
And we will will continue to beat the "dead horse" until you resign. Walter said on WILK that there will be a rally before the next commissioners meeting at 9AM December 17th. See you there.
Pictures speak louder than words so multi-media Markie of Merritville aka Wilkes-Barre Online sums it up.
Here's a video for the Mean Old Man
We did it again because it's a tradition. The annual trek to Helen and Ed's Tree farm to murder an unsuspecting Spruce tree and drag it home to be abused by hanging all sorts of lights and ornaments on it was a treat. We took the dog and my sister and surpisingly decided on the first one we checked out and we were out of there in record time.
Now the hard part starts as I'll be required to drag box after box of collectable ornaments up from the basement but we'll get some help, sort of.
This is the raw product and if you're interested I'll post a photo of the finished one.
Now for a collision of YouTube weekend, Christmas traditions and my friends celebrating Hanukkah:
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
It's all Tim's fault
Officials ask citizen Tim Grier to withdraw challenge to bond borrowing to avoid layoffs, cuts.
It's all Tim's fault that every year the Luzerne County Commissioners have to borrow money to pay last years bills. It's all Tim's fault that they borrow money for one thing and spend it on another in violation of state law. It's his fault that they hid the looming deficit until after the election, violating the Bond Brothers (Skrep and Vondy) policy of regular budget updates.
And who's fault was it to let a few select people pay for their personal entertainment expenses with a county debit card?
DebitCardmissoner Greg Skrepenak has threatened to shut down the Luzerne County government if Grier doesn't back down saying the latest bond issue is needed to pay back last years tax anticipation loan which will lead to all sorts of dire financial consequences.
But there is an alternative before drastic measures have to be taken if the county will go to the courts and ask to borrow the money to cover this years shortfall. That process allows a 10-year repayment schedule; the county wants a 20-year repayment schedule.
“There’s no reason to stretch it out,” Grier said. “You have the option to go to the courts.
Is that correct?”
Sam Guesto responded, “That’s correct.
”“There you have it,” Grier said.
So the short term crises can be avoided and all this borrowing can be more defined hopefully with proviso that if you don't spend it on the original project the money must be returned.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
PA 10th CD news
Former United States Senator Supports Conservative Businessman
Former United States Senator Rick Santorum today endorsed Dan Meuser for Congress
in Pennsylvania’s 10th District.
In a letter to Republican activists throughout the 10th Congressional District, Rick
Santorum praised Dan Meuser’s conservative values and his leadership on conservative
“Today, our party finds itself at a crossroads. We need to elect conservative leaders who
can go to Washington D.C. and stand up for our values. We need leaders who will stand
tall in the war against radical Islamists, stand up for the rights of the unborn, fight to
make tax relief a priority for our nation, cut wasteful spending, and protect our borders,”
Senator Santorum said. “The people of the 10th District will have the opportunity to elect
such a leader, and that is why I am proud to endorse Dan Meuser for Congress. “
Senator Santorum praised Dan’s position on the War on Terror and his support for our
brave men and women in uniform.
“I know that Dan understands that America is in the midst of a great global conflict, and
that he will stand with our troops in our fight against radical Islamists,” Senator Santorum
said. “Dan will be a Congressman our country can count on to support policies that
protect America and the troops can count on [him] to support them as they advance the
cause of freedom.”
Dan Meuser noted that Senator Santorum’s endorsement was the latest in a string of
conservative endorsements for his campaign.
Meuser said, “Senator Santorum is a national leader whose conservative policies I
embrace and I am excited to have his leadership, vision, and passion on my team.”
Dan Meuser is a conservative businessman who, over the past 20 years, helped transform
a small company into the leading manufacturer in mobility products in the world. The
company now employs more than 1,000 employees in Northeastern PA. His experience
of growing a small business into an international leader coupled with his conservative
values prepares him to deal with the challenges facing our nation. Dan lives in the Back
Mountain region of Luzerne County with his wife Shelley and their three children.
Update: I forgot to mention that one time prospective candidate Joe Peters also has endorsed Meuser.
Former Prosecutor and Homeland Security expert Joe Peters today endorsed Dan Meuser for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 10th District.
“Dan Meuser is the type of leader Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania desperately needs now,” Peters said. “Dan is a conservative who shares the values of the people of the district, including protecting innocent life and the 2nd Amendment and he is the candidate that can win back the 10th Congressional seat.”
More bonds or maybe not
County Budget Finance Chief Sam Diaz is predicting the sky will fall because Luzerne County might not be able to issue yet another bond because taxpayer Timothy Grier, of Wilkes-Barre, filed complaints with the state Department of Community and Economic Development to stop commissioners from borrowing $80.05 million to fund capital projects and the county deficit.
Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak, in regards to a possible county government shut-down, is quoted in one of today’s local papers as stating, “We have a very serious issue.”
All of the issues in county government are serious; Mr. Skrepenak is one of MANY at the Luzerne County Courthouse who are apparently just now figuring that out. Sadly, I believe that Commissioner Skrepenak and the rest of his cronies think that this is some type of game, as they continue to treat this issue as a matter of politics rather than policy. While American soldiers continue to die overseas for a government they believe in back home, Greg Skrepenak and political hacks like himself throughout Luzerne County continue to betray those individuals and their families.
Commissioner Skrepenak and the friends he hired ignored a policy the commissioner himself helped to create; they deceived us and bilked us out of tens of thousands of dollars so they could live like kings while the taxpayers were treated like peasants. These morally bankrupt individuals continue to remain unapologetic and refuse to acknowledge the gravity of their mistakes.
Have I made mistakes in life? Certainly. Not a one of us is perfect. The best we can do is get up every day and try to be the best we can be. Mr. Skrepenak, Mr. Hyder, Mr. Brace, and the rest of the crew at the Luzerne County Courthouse apparently get out of bed every day trying to figure out how to rip the rest of us off.
The petitions I submitted to DCED are clear. Deny the county’s requests to borrow as they stand, demand that the county follow the law and tell us what it intends to borrow the money for, and force the county to follow the guidelines for borrowing unfunded debt which are clearly established by the legislature.
Interestingly, just as Commissioner Skrepenak refuses to accept responsibility for the debit card fiasco, he is now trying to side-step my request. In another comment to Citizen’s Voice staff, Mr. Skrepenak claims, “We’re confident we can dispute any argument made.” I realize he is being told by his handlers, “stick to your guns, admit no shortcomings, give them nothing,” but Commissioner Skrepenak’s continued allegiance to those who paid for his campaign rather than to those who pay his salary may ultimately prove to be his downfall.
Mr. Skrepenak fails to understand the simple fact that if he follows the law, in this case the Local Government Unit Debt Act, I will withdraw my petitions. In fact, Commissioner Skrepenak, if you had done this from the beginning, it would not be such a grave issue today. I never would have had to file a complaint. This is now the quickest way to resolve this matter. There is no need to ask Commissioner Urban or anyone else to help you come up with a solution. The solution already exists; you continue to exacerbate the problem by trying to skirt the law.
I encourage everyone in Luzerne County to call on their state legislators and firmly, but politely, demand that this problem be rectified immediately and correctly – by the DCED forcing the county to follow the law. Contact information for state house and senate representatives can be found here: