Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mom knows baseball

My 79 year old mother is healthy as a horse and ornery as a mule for which I thank God every day. I went down to to her house today to cut the grass today to find her watching the Little League World Series and she was rooting for the Chinese Team! She has been watching the tournament from the beginning and could name many of the kids on both teams. I think she wants to adopt Wen Hua Sung. Chula Vista won the game 6-3.

I asked her who won the Yanks-White Sox game and she said the "crybaby's" did.

Yankees 8, White Sox 3

We talked about last night's Phillies game and Cliff Lee getting knocked around. She wasn't worried about it because "that's baseball." A pitcher gets hot for a stretch then gets clobbered. She thinks he will be OK the rest of the year but is worried about Brad Lidge closing. She likes Bret Myers.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yes or No

Will Luzerne County Judges Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. and Thomas F. Burke Jr. suffer a similar fate as Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro? In 2005 Nigro lost his bid for retention because the state legislature voted themselves an outrageous pay raise in the middle of the night and the voters took their wrath out on him. There were other issues involved but it could be argued that he was a victim of "guilt by association."

So now the question is will Olszewski and Burke suffer because of the actions of the Juvie Brothers? They have not been accused of any wrongdoing but Conahan and Ciavarella are not on the ballot and they are. I don't have any polling to back it up but people I talk to are in a throw the bums out mood. That's why I also think the Republican row office candidates will do well.

I have never voted Yes in a judicial retention election and I'm not about to start now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy 1932-2009

This is a repost of what I wrote about my meeting with Ted after it was announced that he was ill.

I met the Liberal Lion about 20 years ago when I was on vacation on Nantucket Island. A bunch of us were in a bar when Ted a few other people walked through the door and sat down at the table next to us. I know it's hard to believe that both me me and Ted could be found in a drinking establishment.

One of my friends spotted him and got all excited and wanted to go over to him which we all counseled against but Jack couldn't be persuaded to let the man just enjoy his evening. So he goes over to his table and starts babbling some thing like Senator Kennedy, Senator Kennedy I think you should be President, I'm from New Hampshire but I would vote for you anytime and some other stuff. Ted was a little taken aback with that sycophantic verbal assault. With a surprised and annoyed look on his face he said "Get the fuck away from me kid." The rest of us watching this exchange erupted in laughter and a round of applause. Jack came back to the table with his tail between his legs and sulked for a while.

Later in the evening Ted came over to us and slapped Jack on the back and apologized for being so short with him. He sat down with us and bought a round and we discussed sailing, a little politics and few other things.

A personal note. My father died from brain cancer so I hope some people will resist the temptation to make tasteless Chappaquiddick jokes at this time and wish his family well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Let's go to trial

A few years ago I was in the jury pool for a murder case. I forget if it was the prosecution or the defense that asked me what I thought about the death penalty. My reply almost got me a contempt citation. For the most part I oppose it because I don't think the government should be killing people no matter what they did and the administration of it is a nightmare. The one exception that I favor the death penalty is a case of a elected public official (such as a judge) using his/her office to enrich themselves. That bastard should be strung up in the Public Square after due process of course.

Ciavarella, Conahan withdraw guilty pleas

UPDATE: Conahan/Ciavarella file motions to withdraw guilty pleas

The Judge still doesn't buy it.

I want a trial!

Honest Service Fraud and tax evasion are minimum charges. They can pile on a lot more.

Help me out lawyers. Does the Us Attorney have to go back to the Grand Jury to get more charges?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Phils back Pedro in NY, win on rare feat | News

Phils back Pedro in NY, win on rare feat News

Triple Play

One of the great joys of baseball is when you see something that is almost never done. Phillies 2nd baseman Eric Bruntlett caught a line drive in the bottom of the 9th with no outs then stepped on second and tagged out the runner coming from first for a triple play. The last time I saw a triple play was when Mickey Morandini did it against the Pirates in 1992.

Pedro Martinez is living a charmed life, 2-0 after 3 starts. The Phils got him 12 runs in his first game against the Cubs then Jamie Moyer threw a lights out game after a rain delay against the D-Backs. Today the Phils put up a 6 spot in the 1st and Pedro kept letting them back into it. Then Heartbreak Lidge took over in the 9th and gave up a couple of hits and got burned by errors but Bruntlett was in the right place at the right time. Bruntlett also had 3 hits.

Looking for video that I can embed, help me out.

2010 Senate race

Pat Toomey was in town on Friday which was a surprise to me and many of my Republican friends. He talked with Bill O'Boyle of the Times-Leader and decried "the lurch to the left” of the federal government. His solution to the health care crises is tort reform. He also continued to hammer Senator Arlen Specter (PA-D,R,?, plaid) He said he decided long ago that he would challenge Specter – then a Republican – in the 2010 primary. “Then a poll came out and Specter decided to switch parties,” Toomey said. “I think voters are fed up with the political opportunism of Arlen Specter.”

The polls are all over the place in this race which is to be expected this early in the contest but Specter's reelect number is not good.

In an interesting twist Toomey has agreed to meet with Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak to hold a joint town hall on health care in Toomey's home town of Allentown. Afterward he wants to go drinking, "I'm happy to welcome Joe to the great city of Allentown and I'd extend to him an invitation to share a beer with me at one of our fine local establishments after the town hall meeting." I would like to be part of that, I'd buy them both a Yuengling. I think the country needs more beer summits.

I don't know if Republican Senate candidate Peg Lusik drinks beer but her campaign is doing a good job of keeping bloggers updated.

Where’s the Bill?

She is touring the state and when she makes it to Luzerne County I hope to talk with her and give you a report.

YouTube weekend

For the most part I don't like to watch people dance. I have never seen the Nutcracker would rather hit my head with a hammer than witness Riverdance.

At the same time I could spend all day watching Michael Jackson and Madonna sing and dance.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nobody reads blogs on Saturday

Last nights meet up at Dan's was big success. Zen was the most popular guy for some reason. I'm sorry that I didn't give 4 months notice about our impromptu meeting but I posted it on the blog, Facebook and blasted emails to those that might be interested. Yes, I did huddle with my attorney when Big Dan came in. He didn't look as tall as his picture on the Internet. I will consult with my senior counsel, Tom Hagen, about this. Dan, do you own any horses?

Thanks to everyone that showed up, it was a blast. We will do another one at the end of September and hopefully we will get a few of the Luzerne County Democratic candidates to attend in addition to the GOP hopefuls.

I heard a disturbing report that the Mean Old Man shot himself in the leg with a shotgun while he was feeding his chickens so he was unable to attend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Town Hall meeting Friday

Michael Rennie, the unofficial Social Secretary of the Northeast Blogging Council has announced that his organization has teamed with the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society to sponsor our version of a town hall meeting this Friday on the deck at Dan's Keystone Grill, 162 Union St., Plains, PA 18702 Phone: 570-820-0411 (map it) starting at 5PM.

Candidates for office in the upcoming election, bloggers, commenter's and local media have been invited. If you didn't receive an invitation your are still welcome.

As usual our main purpose will be to address the financial crises by infusing cash into the malt beverage industry to ensure it's liquidity. A quick check of the agenda reveals that there isn't one but we usually cover local politics, baseball, old movies and whatever comes to mind.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Best man for the job

From the inbox:

P.J.Best withdrew his candidacy for nomination for the November ballot for Pittston City Council seat during a Tuesday night meeting of the Luzerne County Democractic executive committee meeting.
Joe Chernouskas and Ludwig Fleming asked to be consided for the nomination.
Chernouskas recieved the nomination with overwhelming support.

Polish soul food

We are having Kielbasa and Pierogi for dinner tonight.

Gina has a website

Republican candidate for Luzerne County Register of Wills Gina Nevenglosky is up on the intertubes.
Tired of Elected Officials Not at work receiving full time pay and benefits? Fill this seat with the person who will be at work every day serving the citizens of Luzerne County. The news articles and information from the recent FBI investigations have given evidence of theft, money missing and tampering with paper work. It is necessary to oversee staff in each Row Office. That is the job of a Row Officer. Elect Gina Nevenglosky for Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans' Court to restore employee accountability in government.

Her opponent is long time Democratic office holder Dottie Stankovic who doesn't have website as far as I know. I called her office earlier (about 12:15) today to ask why but nobody answered the phone. Some wag later told me she was having lunch with Bob Reilly at the Olive Garden across the street from Nationwide Car Sales but I can't verify that.

The Yonk is exercised about this lunch break policy asking What if? Julius Caesar might have survived because Brutus might’ve been on a rigatoni run.

So far I can't find a website for the Democratic Row officer candidates Bob Morgan and Nancy Bellas. GOP Controller nominee Walter Griffith has a site as does independent Wil Toole and they are both on Facebook. Republican Prothonotary candidate Carolee is on Facebook
but doesn't have a website up yet.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Woodstock memories

I'm on vacation this week and will be busy with my paperwork project and Mrs. G's honey do list so I may not be posting as much as usual. To pick up the slack some of my "friends" have offered to fill the void.

We start with this from

The Mean Old Man


I’m sick and tired of being reminded all week of the Woodstock Rock Festival by the Commie media!!! I remember that damned subversive brainwashing rally and I have been trying to forget it for forty years.

Back in ’69 my two twirpy kids came over to me while I was tilling the vegetable garden and asked me for “bread” so that they could go to some rock festival in New York. I proceeded to hand each of them a can of paint and a brush to spice up the ol’ tool shed. I can still hear their whiney voices complaining that I didn’t understand them or understand the state of the world with its wars and hungry children, and on and on. “All you losers want to do is get high on drugs!” I told them. My goofball son Clay (the one that I really had hope for until all of this hippie BS) told me that it wasn’t about doing drugs, but “becoming one with the stars”. I then told him that I could give him that experience for free without his using my hard earned money to buy pot; so I smacked his forehead with my pruning shears. Now, I ain’t ever had that done to me myself, but from the look on the dimwit’s face, he reached his goal of seeing stars!!!

All those hippies had it too easy and they didn’t know a thing about what a real gathering of thousands was about and how fun it could be. In my day we had what I guess you could call a “festival” too. I remember one muggy summer day, me and my buddies joined a few hundred thousand others of our own age for some decent, down home all American fun. We didn’t have to go to Woodstock for it, either; we went to a quaint little place called Omaha Beach!!! We didn’t have drugs to kill our pain, or enough water to heal our parched throats, Hell; we didn’t even have a porta san man!!! But what we did have was guns, sabers, and grenades, combined with the joy of seeing Krauts getting the blocks knocked off!!! Now, that’s what I call an occasion for remembrance; but don’t tell the media. We had the 65th Anniversary of D-Day and it barely got a ripple in the press, but Woodstock---everywhere.

Getting back to my stupid sons, well one of them, anyway; my son Harlan took off to Woodstock with his friend Slim and Slim’s older brother Mitch. They took off the night before the festival and when my wife Thelma Jean found out about it the next day she was fit to be tied. She dragged me out of bed and ordered me to go to Woodstock to get Harlan back; fearing he would become part of a commune. Now, I ain’t no wuss, but when Thelma Jean gives an order, especially when she’s holding her champion pie roller in her hand, I listen. So, I went down the Legion at 9 a.m. where I found my old buddies Gummo and Creep playing pool and sipping on a few cold ones. When I told them what had happened they began razzing me about having a tinkerbell for a son. Of course, that stopped once I went out to the truck and came back in with my trusty Remington 12 gauge. I told them that they were coming to Woodstock with me to rescue my boy from the hands of those long haired commie weirdos.

So, we got in the trusty Dodge and headed straight to Commieville. I can still remember the thousands of Bolshevik cars parked on the highway---not the side of the highway, mind you, but the highway itself. A State Trooper told me that there were so many people arriving that they had to shut the whole thing down. So, me, Gummo and Creep proceeded for what seemed like miles and miles to where the mass of the crowd was; all the while having to deal with these subversive longhairs. Of course, no respectable WWII vet walks for a long stretch without his trusty beer and we three were no exception. We had a cooler filled with Ballentine and Stegmaier. As we finished our first half mile we decided to take a short break and pop open a few cans. All of a sudden like cockroaches after sugar, these wacked out bearded, screwball hooligans wearing the subversive Peace symbol approached us. "Hey man, so cool to see the older generation digging our way." The one freak yelled out. "Peace and love, peace and love, peace and love, oh by the way, can you spare a few beers?" That was all we needed to hear. I distracted the slime ball while Creep took a can of Steg and shook it violently; he then handed it to me and I gave it to the hippy. Of course, when he popped the can his entire face, beard and all, was awash with Booze. "Hope you enjoyed it! Long live the Infantry!!!" Creep, Gummo and me shouted together.

Of course, we had many more fun encounters with the wackos of the Age of Aquarius; but I have to go and clean out the pens. I'll also let you know if we ever did find that loser son of mine.
To be Continued.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Drought warning

It hasn't rained in a few days and it's close to 90 this afternoon. I suspended the building of the boat and gathering animals for the time being. I'm stuck indoors today working on a very important paperwork project which may lead to greater riches if it works out. And no, it doesn't have anything to do with Nigerians or the Irish Lottery. Sucks to be me today. As usual I blame Al Roker for the weather.

The Red Sox lost to the Rangers today and now I'm rooting for the Mariners against the Evil Empire. There is a new curse in baseball Yankee fans. You can't bulldoze the high temple of the game without pissing off the baseball Gods. The Ghosts don't want to move.

Lidge blows another one

The Phillies had a 3-2 lead over the Braves going into the bottom of the 9th and lost 4-3. That is his 8th blown save this season in 30 chances. I know that there were 2 errors in the frame but he also allowed 2 base runners in Friday's game before getting out of it. Last season he perfect in save opportunities and no one expected that to last but every time he takes the mound lately it turns into an adventure. It's like 1993 when you had to wear a towel on your head in the 9th.
Maybe it's time for a new closer. Brett Myers is due back soon and will pitch out of the pen or maybe try Jamie Moyer since he recently became unemployed.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hide your Beagle, Vick is an Eagle

The news that the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick was met with howls of protest in the Gort household. Mrs G and Quincy think that he should be given the same treatment as the dogs he tortured and killed with his own hand and ordered the torture and killing of other dogs. Electrocution. Hangings. Drowning. Repeatedly slamming their bodies into the ground. All because they weren’t winning his illegal gambling ring enough money.
Who is the animal here?
But he served his time for his crimes and America is a land of 2nd chances. He should be able to make a living after being released from prison. Too bad so many other felons aren't given the opportunity to get a job and contribute to society and clean up their acts.

Sugar Notch happenings

This is a guest post from Mario Fiorucci. He is the Democratic candidate for Mayor of Sugar Notch.

SugarGate: Cover-up or just confusion?

At the Sugar Notch Council meeting in May, Council President James Mullin asked for approval to pay $2,700 of the $5,400 owed to the Commonwealth of PA. It was owed because 'taxes' on the Liquid Fuels Fund had to be paid to 'unfreeze' the account so the borough could use the money for road repairs, etc. At the council's next meeting in June, I (Mario Fiorucci), asked why taxes were owed on the Liquid Fuels Fund, which itself is funded by gasoline taxes. Council President JM insisted that the money owed to the state was to pay back employee payroll taxes that were not paid for over a year. I questioned his explanation and asked to see the minutes of the May meeting. They did not mention a word about how taxes were owed on the fund or that the check for $2,700 was approved to send to the state. Not a word about the whole thing was mentioned!

Luckily, a Citizens' Voice reporter was at the June meeting. In a report titled "Sugar Notch back taxes questioned", reporter Robert Olsen said "What it sounded like was there was money missing from the liquid fuels account that had to be paid back." I said "There was money missing from the refuse (Garbage) account, it's happened before." I thought the state found that the town misappropriated money from the fund and wanted it returned. The town has been running in the red and there were rumors that the mayor had to bail out the town with his own money at least two times for the last few years.

The article also said that I requested a copy of the meeting 'minutes' from May and had found that 'there was no mention of the $5,400 owed in them'. Council President JM said that the "unpaid taxes were discovered when the borough hired a new accountant. She reported the discrepancy to the state, which then froze the Liquid Fuels Fund." The article also quoted JM as saying he "failed to recall if anything was said about the problem or the request to approve the payment at May's meeting." He wasn't sure why it wasn't in the minutes. To me, this explanation was insufficient and still poses the question, "Was the money diverted from the employee payroll taxes so it could be used to just help keep the town running?"

At the regular July council meeting, I said "I know I heard council President JM ask for the check approval. If he did not, then how could I have been able to bring this subject up at the June meeting? And at the June meeting, not one council member volunteered to back me up by saying "they remember that a check for $2,700 was approved..or not" It seems that stealth government has returned to Sugar Notch, yet again.

I also asked the council and mayor to explain the payroll process. I thought the mayor was in charge of scheduling the police and maintenance employees. But they said that the Chief of Police Pelchar schedules hours for the police dept. employees. And councilman, Pat Dalton, schedules hours for the road crew. After they submit pay requests, the Treasurer issues checks. I then asked if the money was 'missing' and just 'not paid' as they claim. They said no money was missing. I do not have a lot of confidence in the council's ability to oversee an antique accounting and budget process. And from what I heard about the town, it has not paid the employee payroll taxes before, because several times when the town had to lay-off the road crew, for lack of funds usually, the state had to call the town to pay in it's taxes, so the road crew could file and get their unemployment checks! Things need to change in Sugar Notch and that includes looking at consolidation.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Phils win

Ryan Howard hit a game winning HR in the top of the 9th giving the Phils a 3-2 lead. Then Brad Lidge came in and made it interesting but the Phillies won anyway. Myers will be back soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

About that finder's fee

SCRANTON - Prominent area developer Robert Mericle has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of failing to report a felony, Acting U.S. Attorney Dennis Pfannenschmidt announced today.
The agreement, which was signed July 31, calls for Mericle to plead guilty to one count of failing to report a felony. Prosecutors say Mericle failed to disclose his knowledge that former judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella had accepted kickbacks in exchange for rulings that benefited the PA and Western PA juvenile detention centers that Mericle built.
The centers were owned at the time by Gregory Zappala and Robert Powell. Powell has also entered a guilty plea in the case. Included in the plea agreement Mericle has also agreed to pay $2.15 million for funding programs that will benefit "the health, safety and general welfare of children of Luzerne County." I guess you can try to buy your way out of anything.
Alternate headlines from Big Dan
IT'S A MERICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!""MERICLES DO HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!"
McGruff has
And my favorite
Pfahrvergnügen from Pfannenschmidt

Juvie Brothers update

A lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client-Anon

CV: Following the penny-pinching lead of his partner in corruption, disgraced former Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Conahan will start representing himself in a series of kids-for-cash civil lawsuits, his departing attorney, Philip Gelso said.

His partner in crime, Mark Ciavarella, has also taken over his own defense of the lawsuits. The recent WNEP interview with him happened as he was leaving the Federal Courthouse in Scranton after he filed a motion to dismiss a civil lawsuit against him. That interview (and other things) seems to have pissed off Judge Kosik who rejected the plea agreements.

In other Juvie Brothers news the Feds are now looking at their bar bills...The agents showed up at the 113-year-old Hanover Township club two or three months ago to review the bar bills of Judge Michael T. Toole, former Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and school board member Brian F. Dunn, country club accountant Bob Anderson said in a phone interview.

Judge: Void juvenile convictions

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Santorum for President

This should warm the heart of the Mean Old Man.

POLITICO has learned Santorum will visit first-in-the-nation Iowa this fall for a series of appearances before the sort of conservative activists who dominate the state GOP’s key presidential caucuses.

Our former junior Senator and Virginia resident is going to Iowa which always starts Presidential speculation about any politician. The great mentioner has also plugged him for Governor in 2010 and in real fit of delusion even a Supreme Court nominee when Sarah Palin becomes President in 2012, among other posts. Vice President Michelle Bachmann would be in charge of getting him confirmed by the Senate.

Thanks to for highlighting this.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Carney schedules Town Hall Meetings

Washington , D.C. – Congressman Christopher P. Carney has announced the first three Listening Tour Town Hall Meetings for the August District work period...

“I came to Congress with the goal of listening to the people of Pennsylvania ’s 10th District. This town hall meeting is a unique opportunity for me to explain the actions Congress is taking, how my office can help and for people to tell me about the issues that matter most to them,” said Congressman Carney. “Now more than ever, all of our citizens need to be asking questions and getting involved and these town hall meetings will allow them to do just that.”


If what has been going on in town hall meetings in the rest of the country is any indication you can bet that some people will get involved. You may want to bring a video camera and a flak jacket.


-Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. 32 Commercial St , Honesdale , PA.
Monday August 17, 2009 from 11:00am to 12:00pm
-Sullivan County Courthouse, Main & Muncy Streets, LaPorte , PA
Thursday August 20, 2009 from 11:00am to 12:00pm.
-Eagle Hose Company, 1 Eagle Lane , Dickson City , PA
Monday August 24, 2009 from 5:00pm to 6:00pm.

Additional dates during August Recess are being scheduled, and details will be released soon. Stay tuned for a Town Hall meeting in your area. All are invited to attend.

My post about the ambush of one of his staffers got some reaction in the lefty blogosphere. Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny said Chris Carney... found out that the wingnuts he's been catering to for the last 3 years hate him. Dim witted Limbaugh and Beck fans ... don't know a Blue Dog from a Marxist. FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher; Blue Dog Chris Carney Wants to Feel the Teabaggy Love Ingrates.

No more borrowing

County may face cuts and tax hikes

I have some mixed emotions about Luzerne County Commissioner Chair Maryanne Petrilla.

On the one hand I will always hold a grudge because she was recuited to take out the most effective Controller we ever had, Steve Flood, who sounded the alarm bells about the 20 year/$58 million lease with PA Child Care. The place was owned at the time by Greg Zappala and Robert Powell. Since then we have learned that Powell and multi party developer Robert Mericle were paying off the Juvie Brothers to put kids in their private prison.

On the other hand she has been upfront about limits of borrowing to balance the county budget since she became a commissioner and teamed up with Republican Commissioner Steve Urban to restore some sanity. The county is tapped out so borrowing more money for a new prison or anything else is out of the question. There is only so much you can cut so we can expect a big tax increase next year on top of the reassessment that doubled or tripled taxes on some people.

“Raising taxes is a very tough decision that one has to take very, very seriously. But at the same time, I said many times that I can’t make decisions today and tomorrow based on hoping to get re-elected in four years."-Maryanne Petrilla

Expect an indictment

Marty Carlson may be moving along but his staff is still on the job. speculated about another school board director going down in Pittston Area.

YATESVILLE Joseph Oliveri abruptly resigned from the Pittston Area School Board and from his post as a Luzerne County Sheriff’s Deputy with tersely worded letters that cited “personal reasons” for his departures.

I could buy the "I want to spend more time with my family" excuse if he just quit the school board after losing the election but he also gave up his daytime job as a Luzerne County Deputy Sheriff.

From what I hear he is mixed up with the Intellecom/LCCC/PA thing.


Pittston Area school board member charged with accepting bribe

Oliveri will plead guilty to accepting bribe

Carlson gets a promotion

HARRISBURG U.S. Attorney Martin C. Carlson has resigned his post amid the ongoing Luzerne County corruption probe to assume a position as a U.S. magistrate judge in Harrisburg, a federal judge confirmed Monday.

It seems like every prosecutor wants to be a Judge. He was appointed US Attorney by the last administration but I think that his performance in all the Luzerne/Lackawanna scandals show that he is the kind of person that he could care less about politics. Look for President Obama to appoint him to the next vacancy on the federal bench.

His replacement is Dennis Pfannenschmidt, who was appointed interim U.S. attorney. We are going to have fun with that name. The President will nominate a permanent replacement with the advice of Pennsylvania's Senators and consent of the full Senate.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Specter on CNN

Senator Arlen Specter (PA-D/R/?) got the last word on CNN's State of the Union with John King today and discussed health care and his reelection campaign.
King asked him he thought if all the ruckus going on in town hall meetings across the country was orchestrated or just people expressing their opinions spontaneously, he said it was both.
On the much maligned public option that seems to be driving much of the misinformation about the health insurance reform proposal he said it would be very helpful and should be fully explored but reminded King that the Senate has not produced a bill yet.
King then showed a clip from 1994 where Specter was on the Senate floor with a complicated flow chart outlining Hillary Care. I think you may have seen something similar about the present proposal. Specter said that the 1994 plan was different because it included a single payer system and the new plan doesn't.
Responding to Joe Sestak's contention that "I'm not sure he is a Democrat" he pointed out that he broke with the Bush administration over stem cell research, was pro choice and supported the nuclear test ban treaty.
He then attacked Sestak for missing 104 votes saying if he was still in the Navy he would be court martialed for being AWOL.
They finished up with the recent polling showing people in PA don't think he should be reelected and is in dead heat with Pat Toomey. He said he is willing to go toe to toe with all comers and said
"I didn't ask the President to clear the field."
I think if he was asked what his favorite color was he would respond plaid.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Challenger for Carney

Iraq veteran announces run for Congressional seat

Christopher Bain of Williamsport... will challenge U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, D-Dimock, for the 10th Congressional seat.

Bain has also run for Williamsport city council and the PA-84th State House seat. He announced his bid at a Tea Party.

He is the first Republican to throw his hat in the ring and we can expect a few others to join the fray.

"Robert Powell had bills to pay"

Witnesses back Lokuta claim of conspiracy

Lokuta: Conahan was courthouse king

Sandra Brulo said she was called into Ciavarella's chambers and Ciavarella handed her the phone, saying "the boss" wanted to talk to her. "Judge Conahan began screaming at me and accused me of being responsible for the ramping up limits. He said Robert Powell had bills to pay and that the ramping limits were limiting the admissions," Brulo said in the statement.

I've always thought that Judge Ann Lokuta got railroaded and Michael Conahan orchastrated her removal from the bench. Now 4 witnesses have made statements suporting her claim.

In addition to Brulo, statements were provided by Patricia Benzi, a security guard at the courthouse; Carolee Medico Olenginski, former county prothonotary; and Joseph S. Novak, a plaintiff in a civil case before Lokuta.

In her statement, Benzi said she was once asked to deliver an envelope from Billie D’Elia to Lokuta. Benzi said she gave the envelope to Lokuta’s secretary, Maureen Gushanas. Later that day, Gushanas returned the envelope to her and told her

“You tell him my judge isn’t like the rest of the judges!”

Friday, August 07, 2009

Skrep's Dad

I make a point of leaving out the family members of public figures on this blog but Democratic Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrenak's father is in the news. He testified Tuesday before a federal grand jury and we can only guess what he was asked about because grand jury proceedings are secret.
Skrep says that he has no idea why his dad was called to testify and won't ask him. Greg, Sr. is the owner of Big Ugly's bar in Wilkes-Barre and his son claims that he is rarely there.
Federal authorities have also requested copies of Luzerne County commissioner meeting minutes from 2004 through 2007 – the years of Skrepenak’s first term in office.
During that time Skrep and the other Bond Brother Todd Vonderheid approved a 20 year lease for $58 million with PA Child Care owned by Robert Powell and Greg Zappala after declaring an emergency when Juvie Brother Michael Conahan closed the county lock up on River Street in W-B. Powell has since plead guilty to paying bribes to former Judges Conahan and Mark Ciavarella.

Idiot watch

Michelle spotted this.

Man charged with selling aspirin as heroin

Billy Paul Rogowski Jr., 21, address unknown, was charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver a non-controlled substance, and one count each of possession of a non-controlled substance, theft, possession of a small amount of marijuana and resisting arrest.

What is a non-controlled substance? And how is selling it a crime?

At least he has a business plan.

Rogowski told police, according to the criminal complaint, that he sold the aspirin as heroin so he could get money to start selling real heroin.

This reminds me of Hunter Thompson running for Sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado in 1970 on a platform of putting "dishonest" drug dealers in stockades.

His platform also included promoting the decriminalization of drugs , tearing up the streets and turning them into grassy pedestrian malls, banning any building so tall as to obscure the view of the mountains, and renaming Aspen "Fat City" to deter investors. Thompson, having shaved his head, referred to his opponent as "my long-haired opponent", as the Republican candidate had a crew cut.

He got 44% of the vote.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chris Carney has to put up with forgeries and teabagers

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity hired the PR firm Bonner and Associates to help them oppose climate change legislation (ACES) who sent forged letters to Congressman Chris Carney and 2 other House members.
Carney voted against the bill.


Carney’s Rep Hammered in Pike

Just like every other Congress critter, Carney's staff is available at times for people to ask for help with government programs such as Social Security, Black Lung or VA benefits. Most of the time 10 or 20 people will show up asking for help with a specific problem. This was not a town hall meeting with the Congressman but about 50 people showed up all hot and bothered about health care reform. His field rep, Ed Zygmunt, wasn't prepared to deal with it and fumbled badly. Ed's job is to solve problems with the bureaucracy not to deal with an angry mob.


Some of the "concerned citizens" included Republican Pike County Commissioner Richard Caridi, Republican Milford attorney Charles Kannebecker and Republican former New Jersey State Senator John Scott who flirted with a run against Carney.

Why these people want to be continued to be screwed by the health insurance companies is beyond me.

Congressman Chris Carney will hold a town hall meeting in Honesdale on August 17 from 11AM-12PM. The meeting will take place at the Community Room, Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, 32 Commercial Street, Honesdale, PA, 18431.

This should be fun.

Update: I just got off the phone with Congressman Carney and he had this to say...

Rude is not the right word for these people. Ed was just doing his job assisting people with private matters and they deprived their neighbors from getting help with their problems. They should remember that I'm one of the Blue Dogs that slowed the process down so we could have a discussion about this issue.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Juvie Brothers update

There are so many scandals going on it is hard to keep track.

Skrep's dad testifies before grand jury They might want to know about Debit Cards, no bid contracts at the prison and a 20 year lease with PA Child Care along with questions about who actually owns that bar.

Judge recommends $3.5 M defamation verdict be vacated Billy D'Elia's influence doesn't go as far as it used to.

Supreme court orders juvenile records preserved Common sense rules the day even when it involves Judges.

Defiance doomed Ciavarella, Conahan's plea deals Hopefully they are looking at more than 7 years in jail.

Moses sues LCCC, claims firing was retaliation DA Jackie Mo stands by the charges

Feds subpoena five PA teachers Many more teachers may have to put a hand on a bible.

Intellacom- Maybe Not So Intell-igent If school board directors are taking bribes someone is paying them.

I'm sure that I missed a few.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Joe Sestak announces he is running for Senate

FOLSOM—Congressman Joe Sestak officially entered the race for Senate Tuesday morning, ending his long march toward a primary showdown against Senator Arlen Specter next year and setting up what will be one of the most high-profile races in the country.

Sestak has toured all 67 counties in Pennsylvania drumming up support and has been exchanging barbs with Sen. Arlen Specter (PA-?) for months. My favorite was Specter's criticism of Sestak joining the Democratic Party "only" in 2006 so he could run for Congress. The irony of that statement is that Specter switched party's a few months ago because he said he couldn't win a Republican primary against Pat Toomey. Many of my Republican friends would say that he has been a Democrat at heart for a long time. Toomey welcomed him to race.

"Pennsylvania Democrats will make an important choice between Joe Sestak, a consistent liberal who really believes in his values, and Arlen Specter, a career political opportunist who believes in nothing but his own reelection."

Toomey has an op-ed in today's Inky announcing that he would vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. I'm sure that is going over well with the abortion hot heads and gun nuts that make up the GOP primary electorate.

Here is the welcome video from Sestak's website.

Check The Pennsylvania Progressive for video of his speech later in the day. He also has a Facebook page.

You can meet Joe Sestak in Scranton tomorrow 1:30pm at Tripp House, 1011 N Main Ave, Scranton, PA 18505

Other candidates in the race are Republicans

Peg Lusik

Larry Murphy

Robert Townsend

and Democrat

Bill Kortz

Toole in

It looks like The Lu Lac Politcal Letter has stopped swilling TAB and is now gulping Snapple. Between soft drinks David made it down to Penn Plaza to witness former Pittston city clerk/administrator Wil Toole file his petitions to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for Luzerne County Controller and snappled the picture on the right. Toole needed 982 signatures but filed more than 1500 on his nominating forms. The usual formula is to get at 3 times more signatures than what you need to withstand challenges and you can bet that there will be challenges to some of the signatures.

According to the TL article Toole was highly critical of past controller Steve Flood. I'm not sure what he is critical about. Steve Flood sounded the alarm bells about the 20 year lease of the PA Child Care facility in Pittston Township and Juvie Brother, Michael Conahan, made sure he was taken out when he ran for reelection. Maryanne Petrilla was recruited to make things right and she has yet to explain why she dropped all the investigations that he initiated.

Republican nominee Walter Griffith was measured in his response saying he was “kind of disappointed” that Toole switched parties to get on the ballot...“If he’s a Democrat all his life and just switches to run, that says a lot about his integrity,” Griffith said. “It’s just one more person that people will have to do their homework on.”

Bob Morgan won the Democratic nomination and has to be worried about a long time Democrat from Pittston being on the ballot even if he is calling himself an "Independent."

Morgan said he briefly reviewed Toole’s nominating petition Monday and said it was signed by many “old guard” political figures in county politics. “Clearly this is an attempt by the old guard of the county to take control of this election. Mr. Toole is being nominated by the old guard.”

My advice to Walter is to let it alone and let Morgan and Toole fight about signatures. If Toole is on the ballot in the fall he splits the Democratic vote and you win in a walk.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Luzerne County GOP picnic

I made it to the Luzerne County Republican Party Family picnic yesterday along with at least 200 other people at the beautiful Hartis Horse Farm in Dallas. The host was recent Controller candidate Bob Sypniewski who spent the day directing traffic. I was wasn't able to stay long and bit my tongue when some of the people started Obama bashing and repeating misinformation about health care reform. Yes, it was bleeding afterward but since this was a social occasion I decided not to get into any arguments with people that can't be persuaded anyway. Speaking of the unpersuadable, I ran into Dave Madeira as I was leaving and he was arriving.

The only picture I snagged was of our next Court of Common Pleas Judge Bill Amesbury and sitting Judge Tom Burke then my camera battery died and I didn't take a spare. Bill won both nominations so he is probably a lock but he stressed to me and anyone else that asked that he is not taking anything for granted and will continue to campaign hard. Republican Judge nominee Dick Hughes was working the crowd and I may just bullet vote for him. Blog buddy ZEN was there with his family and his son confirmed that he has filled his head with untruths about me:) Executive Directer Renita Fennick was the social butterfly of the event and made sure she greeted everyone including your humble narrator- "Oh, it's you."

My counseling efforts worked out between Jonathon and Controller nominee Walter Griffith. They kissed and made up. Carolee Medico was there and is probably headed back to the Courthouse for a repeat performance as Prothonotary.

I had a nice chat with SPCA Director and former WBRE weather guy Vince Sweeney and his wife Carol, at first I thought she was his daughter. Just kidding pal, you're a lucky man. Vince and I have the same talent for breaking machines like weed eaters, lawn mowers and appliances. He told me that if you want a cat the SPCA is handing them out for free which got my wheels turning. I'm sure Quincy would love another playmate but Ptolemy would freak and Mrs. G would also be a hard sell. I'm not sure but I think I'm on the hook for the next fundraiser for the SPCA at Francis Slocum Park in October. I already drop off my albumin cans there but not out of purely altruistic motives. Let them take them to Bilecki's junk yard.

My old friend Carl Romanelli is not optimistic about the health care legislation that will come out of Washington. He prefers a single payer system as do I. He told me that the best thing about being an Independent/Green is that you can go to any party's event and not get anybody mad at you. I suggested that instead of running for statewide offices that they will never win the minor party's like the Greens and Libertarians should put some effort into winning city council, state rep and school board seats and build as a bench for the big races down the line.

Because I was pressed for time I didn't get a chance to say hello to everyone. Some of the people I missed were Wilkes-Barre Area School board candidate Harry Haas , Hanover politico and head of the Malt Beverage Assoc. Dave Shipula, Mr. Flack, Alice Coffman and I'm sure I'm leaving out many others.

A real treat was meeting my Facebook friends David and Kathy .

I also met Superior Court nominees Sallie Mundy and Temp Smith who will be covered in a future post.
Moses was there greeting everyone and spent the afternoon trying to convince them that they didn't really need all that food on the plate.

Did I drop enough names ?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Judge doesn't buy it

Plea deals shot down

Ex-judges’ fate now in limbo

It looks like Senior U.S. Judge Edwin M. Kosik agrees with many of us that 7+ years for taking bribes to lock up kids wasn't enough jail time for these 2 crooks. The maximum sentence is 25 years and the judge said the plea called for less jail time than normal sentencing guidelines. Reading his order he is especially miffed at their conduct since the guilty plea. According to the pre-sentence report Michael Conahan is still an arrogant and obstructive asshole and Mark Ciavarella has been making statements to the media that are both self-serving and don't reflect reality. Finders fee my ass, he took money to jail kids.

So what is next? They can:
- Withdraw their guilty pleas within 10 days and proceed to trial.
- Attempt to negotiate another plea agreement.
- Leave their pleas intact and allow Kosik to determine their sentences.

I bet that they opt to go to trial and try to drag this out for years which will add to the frustration of the victims.

Laurene Transue, whose daughter Hillary’s experiences in Ciavarella’s courtroom helped expose his unconstitutional conduct said... “This whole process has taken so long, and my daughter’s whole adjudication hearing lasted 60 seconds. This has been going on for six months, but my daughter had 60 seconds before Ciavarella.”