Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shakeup at the Times-Leader

Richard Conner has announced that he is stepping down as the publisher of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. This media board reports that he has also has pulled out of the newspaper business in Maine. Speculation is rampant about the financial health of the publication with many people fearing for their jobs and the rest of us worry about having just one local new source for information about local politics and government. The local TV stations ignore political stories unless something really big happens and the afternoon radio show is a joke.

The Citizens Voice has more information about what is going on than the TL.

Times Leader staffers face uncertain future

"Obviously there's concern in the newsroom," said one reporter. "It certainly seems more dire than it has before."
At the rate the cuts are coming, along with Connor's resignation, that same reporter wondered if Wilkes-Barre could soon become a one-newspaper town.
"It's not a good situation," the reporter said.
"I think everyone knew that both papers couldn't exist forever."

My interaction with reporters from both papers has been positive for the most part. Many told me they welcomed the competition and said it made them do their jobs better. I think we are the only small market in the USA with competing daily newspapers.

From a veteran of the newspaper wars who has joined the ranks of us lowly bloggers, Betty Roccograndi who writes Pure Bunkum

Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Times Leader?

And there’s nothing like the fear of being scooped that keeps reporters on their toes. When Bill O’Boyle worked for The Citizens’ Voice and beat me on a story, I feared going into the office that day to face the dragon lady, who’d inevitably ask icily, ”Why don’t we have this story?” (But, dear readers, I scooped him plenty in return.)...
What I’m getting at is remove that competitive spirit, and reporters run the risk of losing their drive in digging for news that those in office would just love to hide.
But the biggest irony of all would be if The Citizens’ Voice, a long ago fledgling offshoot of The Times Leader, which did everything possible to drive it out of business, becomes the only game in town.

Who is the dragon lady? I have a guess.

Friday, October 28, 2011

You Tube weekend Lady Liberty 125

Notice that she has her back to New Jersey

Statue of Liberty at 125

Statue of Liberty birthday celebrations

It began with a naturalization ceremony for 125 immigrants from more than 40 countries, who would leave the island as U.S. citizens.

The statue's proper name is 'Liberty Enlightening the World.' La Liberté éclairant le monde

The people of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States 125 years ago in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty's symbolism has grown to include freedom and democracy as well as this international friendship.

I'm a grandchild of immigrants as are most of you and this recent hating on recent immigrants disgusts me. This country was built on immigration and I don't mind pressing 1 for English. When I was growing up in the North End of Wilkes-Barre in the 1960's there were mom and pop grocery stores with signs in the window written in Russian and Slovak. But that was OK because they were white. Today there is a place on George Ave in Wilkes-Barre that sells hummas, felafel and other Arabic foods. There are plenty of other places in the area that you can get real Mexican food instead of the junk that Taco Bell sells. As Homer Simpson once observed "if we didn't have immigrants who would play short stop or kick our extra points?"

The New York Times has this great Civil War series DISUNION that I have been reading. I'm struck by how many recent immigrants went to war to defend the Union. Back then there were not many rules to come to America. We welcomed everyone. Today, some want to build a wall with an electrified fence and a moat filled with alligators to keep people out which is better than building one to keep people in like the Soviet's did in Berlin. God Bless America and viva la France.

The original Coming to America video by Neil Diamond that I wanted to use after writing all this is no longer available.

Neil performs the song live:

My country tis of thee

sweet land of liberty

Casablanca La Marseillaise

Aux armes, citoyens...

Wrong People Arrested on Wall Street

From the Borowitz Report

Millions of Americans cheered the news on Friday that arrests had finally been made on Wall Street, but were soon disappointed to learn that the wrong people had been taken into custody.....

At banking giant Goldman Sachs, chairman Lloyd Blankfein admitted that when he heard police sirens outside his building, “I was sure they were finally coming for us.”

A Letter from Goldman Sachs

As thousands have gathered in Lower Manhattan, passionately expressing their deep discontent with the status quo, we have taken note of these protests. And we have asked ourselves this question:

How can we make money off them?

The answer is the newly launched Goldman Sachs Global Rage Fund, whose investment objective is to monetize the Occupy Wall Street protests as they spread around the world...

The Rage Fund will seek out opportunities to invest in products that are poised to benefit from the spreading protests, from police batons and barricades to stun guns and forehead bandages. Furthermore, as clashes between police and protesters turn ever more violent, we are making significant bets on companies that manufacture replacements for broken windows and overturned cars, as well as the raw materials necessary for the construction and incineration of effigies.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blogger Meet-up

via Michelle

....announce the upcoming NEPA Blogger Meet-up. This event will be actually focused around the bloggers…what a novel thought!

We are inviting the usual political suspects, but don't think that many of them will be showing up because of the close proximity to election day. I'm sure that they will be busy vying for last minute votes.

Here are the dirty deets about the event:

The Who/What: will be hosting an informal Blogger Meet-up. Come out and meet the NEPA Blogs (dysfunctional) family. ALL ARE WELCOME. There is no admission or cover charge. It is absolutely 100% free. You have to buy your own drinks though. Unless you serenade me with an off key version of Lady Gaga or something like that.

The When: Sun Nov. 6, 2011 starting at 5pm. Stay until the cows come home….or last call. Whichever comes first.

The Where: The Metro Bar & Grill in Dallas. For directions to the Metro Bar and Grille, please visit:

***More details here: – We put the "fun" in dysfunctional.

I hope you can stop by and partake in some libations with cool kiddies.

The Saturday OT Commitee and Operatic Society will also be attending to infuse cash into the malt beverage industry to insure it's liquidity. This a gathering of bloggers, readers, political types, friends and anyone else that is interested. All are welcome. A quick check of the agenda reveals that there isn't one. Michael Rennie, the unofficial Social Secretary of the Northeast Blogging Council has announced that his organization has sanctioned the event saying "It's a good excuse to drink beer."

The Metro was recently purchased by my Attorney, Lazlo. He helped me out a few years ago when some scumbag tried to extort money from me for publishing a few pictures of then Congressman Don "the Tunkhannock Strangler" Sherwood's girlfriend Cynthia Ore that he had put out on the web as bait then falsley claimed to have a copyright. Tom shot him down proving he was full of shit doing me a great service and didn't even send me a bill. For that I will be forever grateful. If you need a business attorney consider hiring Smithford.

Did somebody say Lady Gaga

LOS ANGELES — Lady Gaga enjoyed her "first real Marilyn moment" with former President Bill Clinton.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wilkes-Barre Mayor forum tonight

The forum will be held Wednesday, Oct. 26th at 7 p.m. at Wilkes University, Stark Learning Center, Room 101. Others are calling this a debate but that remains to be seen. Audience members will be able to submit written questions. Former State Representative and W-B City Council member Kevin Blaum will moderate, he now writes a Sunday Column for the Times-Leader. I go back a long way with Kevin, who is pretty savvy guy, and I hope he lets the candidates mix it up.

Only Betsy Summers has a website but you can find all 3 on Facebook.

Re-Elect Mayor Tom Leighton


Betsy Summers

I haven't paid much attention to the politics of my hometown lately but I have to agree with my friend the Blogfather that Leighton has been a big improvement over the last guy. He got the finances in order so the city doesn't need 3 tax anticipation loans and it's bond rating was restored. Boscov's didn't close and the downtown has more businesses than when he took over. There are more police officers on the street and a new fire station was constructed in Hollenback Park.

On the down side a few places have pulled out of the downtown lately and the Heights firehouse had to be closed because it was falling apart.

Trying to blame the mayor for crime in the city is unfair as there will always be drunken idiots with beer muscles and the federal and state drug and gun laws encourage gang warfare Ask the Mafia how prohibition was good for business plus just about every resident of every town in the northeast will complain about potholes and the condition of the roads.

Leighton's challengers are doing their best to make something out of his alleged ethical lapses such as the home security system paid for by the taxpayers, hiring his kids for summer jobs, the LAG towing contract, Old River Road Bakery, security cameras and a few other things.

There is an old rule to politics that says the challenger doesn't win an election but the incumbent loses it. Wilkes-Barre is an overwhelmingly Democratic city and with 2 challengers spitting the anti Leighton vote in the race Mayor Tom should be with us for the next 4 years . The 2 Captain Obvious college professors agree. Tom Baldino of Wilkes University and David Sosar of King’s College say Leighton already has several advantages in the race, but with two candidates vying for the votes of discontented residents, the two-term Democrat becomes an even safer bet.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Out of Iraq

A few days ago I asked Congressman Lou Barletta (R) and challenger Bill Vinsko (D) for a statement on the withdraw of US troops from Iraq.

The responses

From Barletta spokesman Shawn Kelly:

While Rep. Barletta is hopeful that, after more than eight years and more than 4,400 military lives lost, the war in Iraq can come to a conclusion, he’s very concerned that this withdrawal can be considered a strategic victory by America’s enemies in the Middle East and will embolden Iran. Rep. Barletta hopes that the decision to fully withdraw from Iraq was made with the consultation and support of the military commanders on the ground in Iraq and around the region. He hopes that every avenue for ensuring the continued cooperation between the United States and Iraq will have been pursued before the last American soldier leaves Iraq later this year. Rep. Barletta understands and appreciates the sacrifices made by American military families, and he wants to make sure those sacrifices enhanced security and stability in the Middle East.

From Bill Vinsko:

Hi Gort: I wanted to personally respond to your question:

I could not be more thrilled that our troops, and particularly our Pennsylvania Patriots, are coming home for the holidays. Iraq is transitioning from a sworn enemy of the United States to a fledgling democracy and an ally in the fight against terror, because of the heroism and hard work of our troops. In Congress I will work my hardest to open a new chapter of economic prosperity so that our veterans can find good, family-sustaining jobs in Northeast Pennsylvania, and the happiness they have certainly earned. Finally, while I am happy about our hard-working military personnel coming home from Iraq, I do not want anyone to forget those who will not be returning -- we are forever indebted to them and their families.

Thank you for contacting me on this issue.

Salavantis hits Jackie Mo hard

Republican challenger Stephanie Salavantis is trying to make Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll a part of the kids for cash scandal that resulted in Judges Conahan and Ciavarella going to jail. She has been running an ad the last few days that says Jackie Mo could have made a 3 minute journey to juvinile court to find out what was going on and thus end it. The spot is not on her YouTube channel even after I asked her to post it. That request was posted on her Facebook page and was deleted within minutes. Her facebook page has been chopped up with everything before September being deleted.

Nice try, but David Lupas was the District Attorney for most of the time when all this was going on. It's ironic that Lupas is now the judge in charge of the Juvunile Court. With Hugo Selenski back in the news I'm reminded how many times Lupas dropped the ball and couldn't get a murder conviction for someone with at least 5 people buried in his back yard.

Musto Carroll faces aggressive challenger

What the hell here is the Majestic ad

Update: The "Three Minutes" spot has been added to Salavantis' YouTube Channel

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Libertarians on the move

I've always had an interest in the minor parties and have criticized them for running candidates for President, Governor and Senate in races that they can't possibly win instead of concentrating on local races and building a bench. The local Greens seems to be defunct but the Libertarian Party has taken my advice and has a slate of candidates in the local elections. Whatever you think of the individuals I think it is an accomplishment that they are on the ballot. I like a choice in an election.

3 Libs are running for Luzerne County Council.

Mike Lacey

Brian Bergman

Tim Mullen

In the Wilkes-Barre mayor's race they give us Betsy Summers and Tim Russel want's to be the Mayor or something in Elmenton. Where is Elmonten?

Lou Jasikoff likes a CV headline It says “Libertarians have gotten their wish.” Here in Northeast Pennsylvania it is the Libertarian Party and candidates driving the bus. We are the story and the opportunities are enormous. All day, everyday the news outlets are talking about these races, and all day everyday not one, not two, but many Libertarians are being interviewed, and more often than not our candidates are on multiple shows each day.
We have opportunities like never before to ask questions like: "Let me phrase this in another way. Are you in favor of funding gang violence, are you in favor of funding terrorism? Of course you are not. But this is what America's drug policies do today. What is your solution?Throw more people in jail? Heck we can't keep drugs out of jail. 70% of women today are in jail for non-violent drug abuses. 4% of the worlds population and 25% of the worlds prison population. Is this the America you want?The list goes on and on, but hopefully you get my point. We know we are right on the issues, and given the opportunity we will succeed.

In the 2010 election for state rep Tim Mulen got 15% and if he can keep that support he may win a county council seat. He answered the questions but to him by LuLac.

Tim Mullen on Storm Politics

I'm under attack

Thats what Norton tells me. Not that Norton, this one . This is one of biggest pains owning a PC. So now I'm running anti virus scans and the other protection against malware, adware and underpants gnomes. Profit!

I know Michelle and Dr. Joe will tell me to buy a Mac but I'm not comfortable buying something that expensive off a website without local support. I think the closest Apple store is in Allentown.

I bought the computer that I have in 2005 from Custom Computer in Kingston, PA. They have been outstanding with their customer support. Whenever I have a problem or question I'm calling a place across the river not on the other side of the world.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

PA 11th CD news

I have asked Congessman Lou Barletta and challenger Bill Vinsko for a statement on the withdraw of US troops from Iraq. I await their responses that I will but up verbatim.

Bill Vinsko had good start to his campaign fund raising gathering almost as much money in the last quarter as incumbent Barletta. Vinsko pulled in $85,000 and Mayor Lou raised $100,00 and spent it all but still has $200,000 cash on hand with a $230,00 debt owed to himself. You can read the FEC reports here.

I got an email from the Vinsko camp:

DCCC, media tout Bill Vinsko among nation’s top challengers.
Vinsko beats Marino, keeps pace with Barletta in 3rd Qtr Fundraising.
Tops all recent Democratic challengers from Northeast PA in first filing.

POLITICO reported today that Bill Vinsko was among the top Democratic challengers who on average beat Republican top challengers in 3rd quarter finance filings with the FEC by $50,000, according to numbers released by the DCCC.

“…Democratic CHALLENGERS against Republican Patriot Program members outraised Republican CHALLENGERS to Democratic Frontline members on average.”

– Politico Morning Score, October 19, 2011.

Vinsko for Congress raised $84,972, on par with the two sitting Republican Congressmen from Northeast Pennsylvania. Vinsko’s filing beat Congressman Tom Marino’s $80,776 and kept pace with Congressman Lou Barletta’s $100,196. While new congressional maps will not be published until January, Vinsko is expected to challenge Barletta in the Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 11th CD.

“I am pleased that the DCCC and national media have recognized what hundreds of Northeast Pennsylvanians have said with their individual contributions. We are tired of the Washington politicians who have done nothing to get our economy back on track, but instead have voted to end Medicare as we know it. Together, we are going to change that direction in November,” said Bill Vinsko, a small business owner and Assistant City Attorney of Wilkes-Barre.

Vinsko raised more money in his first quarter than any recent Democratic challenger from Northeast Pennsylvania:

BILL VINSKO (7/1/11 to 9/30/11) (Vinsko for Congress): $84,972
CHRIS CARNEY (7/1/05 to 9/30/05) (Carney for Congress): $28,283
COREY O'BRIEN (7/1/09 to 9/30/09) (Corey O'Brien for Congress): $26,400

And Vinsko also outraised Barletta, Marino and incumbent Democrat Tim Holden in individual (non-PAC)contributions to Northeast Pennsylvania campaigns:

Vinsko: $80,144
Barletta: $68,992
Holden: $59,475
Marino: $36,776

Vinsko got an up arrow from PoliticsPA. Hey Sy, include me in your blog roundup.

Troops coming home from Iraq

When Bush decided to invade Iraq I asked the question "what are we going to do 2 or 3 years from now when they are still shooting at our people?" It's been 9 years after a colossal waste of blood and treasure it will finally end. One of the biggest reasons I voted for Obama was his promise to get our troops out of the middle east.

Atrios tagged those of us who opposed the war as "dirty fucking hippies" who should listen to "the very serious people" even after it was obvious that this was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States. The 101st Keyboard Brigade and other chickenhawks counseled that we should give it one more Friedman Unit to turn things around.

Polling shows that the American people overwhelmingly favors this decision. It looks like the hippies were right. Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican presidential field put out statements opposing the decision but they would want to outlaw velcro if it came out the President wore basketball sneakers with it instead of laces.

The charge that Obama is weak on national security is laughable just ask Osama, Qaddafi and all those people that have been blown up by drone attacks.

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end -- for the sake of our national security and to strengthen American leadership around the world. After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011.

As Commander-in-Chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities. Last year, I announced the end to our combat mission in Iraq. And to date, we’ve removed more than 100,000 troops. Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country’s security.

A few hours ago I spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. I reaffirmed that the United States keeps its commitments. He spoke of the determination of the Iraqi people to forge their own future. We are in full agreement about how to move forward.

So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.

Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq -- tens of thousands of them -- will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldier[s] will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.

But even as we mark this important milestone, we’re also moving into a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Iraq. As of January 1st, and in keeping with our Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, it will be a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

In today’s conversation, Prime Minister Maliki and I agreed that a meeting of the Higher Coordinating Committee of the Strategic Framework Agreement will convene in the coming weeks. And I invited the Prime Minister to come to the White House in December, as we plan for all the important work that we have to do together. This will be a strong and enduring partnership. With our diplomats and civilian advisors in the lead, we’ll help Iraqis strengthen institutions that are just, representative and accountable. We’ll build new ties of trade and of commerce, culture and education, that unleash the potential of the Iraqi people. We’ll partner with an Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace, just as we insist that other nations respect Iraq’s sovereignty.

As I told Prime Minister Maliki, we will continue discussions on how we might help Iraq train and equip its forces -- again, just as we offer training and assistance to countries around the world. After all, there will be some difficult days ahead for Iraq, and the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant. Just as Iraqis have persevered through war, I’m confident that they can build a future worthy of their history as a cradle of civilization.

Here at home, the coming months will be another season of homecomings. Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their families. Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.

This December will be a time to reflect on all that we’ve been though in this war. I’ll join the American people in paying tribute to the more than 1 million Americans who have served in Iraq. We’ll honor our many wounded warriors and the nearly 4,500 American patriots -- and their Iraqi and coalition partners -- who gave their lives to this effort.

And finally, I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition. The tide of war is receding. The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al Qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership -- including Osama bin Laden. Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we’ve begun a transition to Afghan security and leadership. When I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in both these wars. And by the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and make no mistake: It will continue to go down.

Meanwhile, yesterday marked the definitive end of the Qaddafi regime in Libya. And there, too, our military played a critical role in shaping a situation on the ground in which the Libyan people can build their own future. Today, NATO is working to bring this successful mission to a close.

So to sum up, the United States is moving forward from a position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home. As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world. And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we’ll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits and the opportunities that they have earned.

This includes enlisting our veterans in the greatest challenge that we now face as a nation -- creating opportunity and jobs in this country. Because after a decade of war, the nation that we need to build -- and the nation that we will build -- is our own; an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we’ve restored our leadership around the globe.

Thank you very much.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Luzerne County Judges

We will be electing 6 new Judges of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas next month. There are 7 candidates and I have met 6 of them. They are all good people that will replace the disgraced Juvie Brothers Conahan and Ciavarella. LuLac tells about them: These convicted Judges were sneaky, conniving, vindictive, powerful and ruthless bastards. Ask a former Judge named Lokuta. I don't want to open the whole Lokuta thing again but me and the Yonk agree that she was fucked over by Conahan and the Judicial Conduct Board that had a few of his acquaintances sitting in judgement of her. She was not convicted of a crime and probably deserved a kick in pants but overturning an election is extreme.

5 of the 7 candidates secured the nomination of both the Democratic and Republican party's in May. I hate cross filing for Judge and School Board because these are political positions and we should decide in the general election not the primary. The convential wisdom is that the 5 who got double nominations will win although anything can happen. That's why we have elections.

The double five are:

Jennifer Rogers

Lesa Gelb

Mike Vough

Joe Skarosky

Fred Pieratoni

That leaves the odd man (person) out. The race for the 6th spot is between Rebublican Dick Hughes and Dem Molly Mirabito

This is a tough call for me. I have had a few discussions with Hughes and Molly. They both came to Blogfest and the lawyers I know highly recommended them both.

My solution to this delimma is to bullet vote for Mirabito and Hughes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Walter Griffith endorses

Residents of Luzerne County, I am asking for your help in making the County of Luzerne a better government by voting on Nov. 8. The voters of Luzerne County have a very important decision to make on Nov. 8 with regard to the government in our county.
There are 28 candidates that are on the ballot for Luzerne County Council and seven judicial candidates for the Luzerne County Court. These positions are vital to the accountability and creditability of our county, and the election should be decided very carefully to be sure we are moving in the direction of fixing our problems and not making them worse.
There are several candidates that I would like to recommend to the voters for your consideration on Nov. 8 to make our county a better place to live and work. The following 11 candidates are my choice for Luzerne County Council which I believe would make a difference in the way our county is governed and also make reasonable and rational decisions that would justify the decision for home rule government as the right choice.
Eugene Kelleher (R)
Charlie "Bible Buck" Hatchko ( I )
Kathleen Dobash (R)
Steven J. Urban (R)
Tim Mullen ( I )
Gina Nevangloski (R)
Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt (R)
William Bill James (R)
Harry Haas ( R )
Michael Lacey ( I )
Steven A. Urban (D)
Straight party voting should be avoided in this election if we hope to elect the most qualified people. We need to elect people who will make a difference in our county, in part by selecting the first county manager under the home rule charter who will act as the chief executive of our county.
The ability to cleanse the judicial system of this county is also a very critical issue and our judicial selections should be made after much study and research. The ballot will provide a choice of seven candidates for six judicial positions. We must be certain that those who seek to be judges of our court will administer the law fairly and honestly.
There are two candidates that I feel would are qualified to handle such a difficult but rewarding position. I whole heartedly recommend them to you. Dick Hughes has the necessary experience as a prosecutor and a private practice attorney. He is of the highest moral character with a strong sense of fair play, and I believe he will make an excellent judge. Joe Sklarosky, Jr. is another person I believe to be well qualified to administer justice fairly, who will also make an excellent judge. I encourage you all to do the necessary research to be sure that we choose the most qualified people to serve on the Luzerne County Court.
Voters of Luzerne County have decisions to make which will impact Luzerne County for many years, and we must take the time to choose these people very carefully. Please do not vote straight party this November. Your county government deserves better than that from the people responsible for its very existence. Please use your votes wisely.
Walter L. Griffith Jr.
Luzerne County Controller

I haven't talked with Walter for some time but if he had asked I would have advised him not to write this letter.

Rangers even up the series winning 2-1 today.

Rick Williams on the air

Independent Luzerne County Council candidate Rick Williams has a spot running on the local newscasts. I know that cost of a rating point in the NEPA market is lower than other areas but it is still expensive for a local campaign. I can't find a financial report for Williams at the Luzerne County election bureau and Nothington Post points out that he was a registered Democrat until March of this year.

This a traditional man in street and testimonial

Candidates on the air

I had to cut yesterday's post short to deal with yet another minor domestic crises. The only reason I was even watching the local news is to see what candidates for local office had ads running. Yesterday's 6PM newscast had 3 political spots. The first was from ASCME asking Lou Barletta to support President Obama's job plan, that's not going to happen. Judge candidate Jennifer Rogers had the 2nd and the last was for DA Republican hopeful StephanieSalavantis that has the local blogosphere buzzing. See Joe V and the Yonk. Today there were a few more on the Noon broadcast including one for Luzerne County Council candidate Rick Williams.

I will highlight some of them in future posts.

Tonight I'm looking forward to game 2 of the World Series and will be cooking that All American dish, meatloaf. I took the night off from work after being poked, prodded, wired up and getting electric shocks in my leg by a Neurologist then went to the dentist for more fun. This aging process stinks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I watched the local TV news tonight

I usually don't because I work 2nd shift and it's geared to sensational reporting about fires, car crashes and cute stories about kids doing something for soldiers or some other worthy cause.

To me the biggest story of the day was the DEP granting Cabot Oil's request to stop delivering fresh water to people in Dimock but it got only a passing mention of about 10 seconds. It is tragic someone's house burned downed or lost their life in a auto accident but the long term threat to the health of the people of Dimiock and the rest of us deserved more attention.

Driller OK to halt water to Dimock

DEP: Cabot can stop delivering water to Dimock resident


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lou Barletta targetted by enviromental group

The Natural Resources Defense Council is going after Congressman Lou Barletta for his votes to block new clean air regulations from the EPA. Last week the NRDC blasted Barletta and other PA US House members for voting for what they termed the "Fetal Poison Bill."

Fourteen PA Reps Have Dirty Secrets: They Support the "Fetal Poison Bill"

Who loses? Fetuses, babies and young children. Who wins? The 14 Pennsylvania members of Congress who are larding their campaign treasuries with dirty energy political contributions.
House bill 2681, the "Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011" would repeal updates to Clean Air Act standards to reduce toxic emissions from cement plant,”
s – one of the biggest sources of mercury pollution in the US. It’s a “Fetal Poison Bill” because mercury exposure can cause serious brain damage to fetuses, babies and young children.

The NRDC has chart at Dirty Secrets that says that says Barletta has taken almost $ 80,000 from polluters.

Sticking to the party line that regulations kill jobs (they don't) Barletta sent out a fundraising email that seems to welcome the attack.

I supported delaying this job-killing regulation. Rather, they’ll resort to scare tactics.

Dear Gort --
The attacks keep coming. The latest is an accusation from a left-wing, radical environmentalist group that is accusing me of voting in favor of the “Fetal Poison Bill.” It’s an attack meant to grab headlines, which means there’s no truth to it...

Since taking control of the EPA, President Obama’s supporters have been putting forward radical new regulations not focused on protecting the environment, but rather to punish specific industries in this country. It’s a dangerous mix: a politically-motivated anti-business agenda and a struggling economy with 9% unemployment...

A recent EPA regulation, for example, would -- without Congressional intervention -- have resulted in the shuttering of nearly 20% of our nation’s domestic cement plants, putting thousands of jobs in jeopardy, and costing businesses $3.4 billion a year. The environmentalists won’t mention any of this when they tell you I supported delaying this job-killing regulation.

The President doesn't have an "anti-business agenda" and Barletta doesn't cite his assertion that 20% of cement plants would be closed. Do they just pass along this claptrap from a central source? I'm sure that SOP will correct me tomorrow.

Barletta spokesman Shawn Kelly and NRDC blogger Pete Altman had this exchange

“Claims that Rep. Barletta is ‘attacking’ the Clean Air Act are completely false. Not one of the roll call votes cited (#86, #140, #147, and #741) alters the Clean Air Act in any way. Every single vote cited keeps current EPA regulations in place and allows the EPA to continue to regulate pollutants. The roll call votes in question do not weaken or remove any EPA regulation currently in effect,”

Pete disputes that statement:

Denying the Facts: Representative Lou Barletta's True Record of Dirty Air Votes

Interestingly, Barletta’s team doesn’t bother denying the charge our ad actually makes, which is that he voted to let polluters dump more dangerous pollution into our air. And they deny charges we didn’t make – that Barletta voted to alter the Clean air Act and weaken and remove EPA regulations currently in effect.
We could have, though
read the list

Here is the ad:

The 2011 World Series

The Red Sox broke my heart a month earlier than usual and the Phillies waited until October to take a dive unlike a few years ago when they would get it out of the way in April. They turned the old adage that good pitching will beat good hitting on it's head. The TV ratings will suffer without east coast teams in the fall classic as the Yankees, Phils or Sox are not in the hunt. People in Texas and Missouri will tune in along with those Cubs fans in Chicago pulling against the Cardinals will watch but not many others.

Anyway my pick is the Cardinals in 6. Vote on the side bar.

Liz Martin for Dallas Township Supervisor

From the Inbox

Dear Gort,

When I first took office as the Democratic Chairman of the 2nd District last year, I was told that my region was a Republican stronghold, and that finding solid Democratic candidates to run and win would be impossible. This year, in 2011, I believe that all of the naysayers are going to be proven wrong. What I have found in the 16 months since I have held this position, is that electing qualified, smart, and talented people to government is a far more important goal than simply working to elect candidates from one party over another; that true leadership comes not from party affiliation, but rather from the candidates themselves.

In Dallas Township, there is such a candidate: Liz Martin, who is making her second run for the post of Dallas Township Supervisor. Now, many of your readers might ask why special attention is being paid to a Supervisor race -- after all, it's a small, local office, right?
Wrong! In the Back Mountain, the largest political issue that has arisen within the past two years is the issue of natural gas extraction and transportation. It is at the top of voters' minds. The meetings, town hall meetings, and legal hearings are so well attended that there's barely standing room only. In the Dallas area -- the heart of the 2nd District -- issues range from allowing a metering station in close proximity to Dallas High School, tapping the aging Transco pipeline and pushing it to well beyond what it was built to handle, and of course, the issues of natural gas "fracking", itself. While Encana has pulled out of the area, those leases can (and most likely will) be sold to another company, and the integrity of our land, our drinking water, and the health of our population may once again be placed at risk. If a blowout were to occur at a metering station located at the proposed site next to Dallas High School, the consequences would be catastrophic. In the rollercoaster ride that this debate has become, the public has voiced its opposition to the industrialization of our residential areas, for the sake of profit for an industry that offers no apologies nor excuses for its destructive actions; and as local governments are directly involved in all of these issues, the role of Supervisor has become more important than it has ever been.

For each of these discussions, conversations, and legal proceedings, Liz Martin was there. She has stood up for the peoples' rights to clean water, safe towns, and safe schools. Liz has been there from the very beginning of the "fracking" conversation, speaking up for citizens whose voices are drowned out by the corporate cash of the gas industry. Through it all, she was never deterred, never intimidated, and always stood by her principles. If that's not leadership, then I don't know what is.

Her experience also makes her the ideal candidate: Liz has served on the Board of Directors for the Back Mountain Business Association, served as Co-Chair for the immensely successful and always well-attended Dallas Harvest Festival two years in a row, served on the Brass Ring Fund Committee, and was a founding member of the Back Mountain Arts Association Board of Directors. A businesswoman and community activist, Liz is the Managing Editor for Independent NEPA Magazine. She is a lifelong resident of the Back Mountain -- she graduated from Dallas High School and received her degree after attending College Misericordia (Now Misericordia University) and LCCC. Liz is a wife and mother, who also works as the office manager for her husband's business, Modern Nursery Tree Service in Dallas, and her son, Robert, is a 7th grade student and his Mom's biggest supporter.

As a District Chairman, I have the power and privilege of appointing at-large representatives to the party's Executive Committee of Luzerne County, and I could not think of any person better suited to best represent the voters in the 23 municipalities of the 2nd District than Liz Martin; I was proud to appoint her, and serving alongside her has been a pleasure and an honor. Liz is a person with a big heart and boundless compassion for her fellow citizens. Most important of all, I am prouder still to call her my friend.

This isn't about politics, this is about the future, and if Liz were running as a Republican, I'd still be supporting her. A candidate like her only comes along once in a great while, and if the voters of Dallas Township elect her to the position of Supervisor on November 8th, I guarantee that she will make them proud. Her opponent has been in office since the 1970s, and while times have changed dramatically since then, township government, unfortunately, has not.
Now is the time for a Fresh Start in Dallas Township: and Liz Martin is the right woman for the job!


Casey Evans
Second District Democratic Chairman

Scott Cannon sent along this video

Friday, October 14, 2011

Idiot Watch

A case of life imitates art.

Man arrested after bank teller can't read note. It's unclear if he was tripped up on apt natural or I have a gub.


State Police have arrested a New Castle, DE man for an attempted bank robbery on Saturday afternoon. Police say 40 year old Thomas Love went into the WSFS Bank at the Crossroads Shopping Center and handed the teller a note demanding money on a deposit slip. The teller handed the note back telling Love he couldn’t read it and please fill out another slip – and Love left the bank with nothing. Love was located nearby and arrested

Woody Allen made a similar mistake in the classic film Take the Money and Run

Thursday, October 13, 2011

County Council candidates forum

The League of Women Voters held a traditional forum for Luzerne County County Council candidates last night at King's College. The turnout by the public was disappointing as only 50 people attended to hear what 21 of the 28 people in the race had to say. Jennifer has a write-up in the TL summarizing what each of them said in the 2 minutes allotted to them quoting the usual good government platitudes.

This is most unwieldy election I have ever witnessed locally with 11 spots up for grabs and an absence of any sort of party support or discipline. Every candidate is running on their own. Some people think that is a good thing and others long for the days of the 3 Commissioner system when the local Democrats with the help of a few big money Republicans gave us a predictable result. The old system gave us a string of all stars such as Makowski, Pizzano, Vonderheid, Skrepnak and Crossin.

Most people against the new charter are focused on this free for all and don't like the idea of an appointed county manager instead of an elected executive. I agree that we should elect a Mayor of the County and think that that the last home rule plan was much better. But this is what we have in front of us so deal with it. The next election for seats on the council will be more focused.

A point that I think that has been overlooked is that the charter has eliminated elections for the county row offices. The part I like is that the coroner, register of wills, recorder of deeds, treasurer and sheriff would all be hired based on qualifications . These are management/clerk positions with no policy responsibility. After all there is no Republican or Democratic way to perform an autopsy or register a will and Jill Moran and Bob Reilly have shown how diffuse power centers can lead to trouble.

In 2003 the Dems asked us to trust Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid to fix the system telling us that home rule wasn't needed because we could trust these guys to fix the system. That worked out well. Vondy quit before his term was up and Skrep is in jail.

I spotted this at LuLac's 13 questions

6. Will you make any endorsements in the upcoming races? And will your cohort Gort do so?

I can’t speak for Gort but I’m thinking of it. I’ll have to have a meeting with him about it.

I look forward to that meeting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bob Reilly got Luzerne County contract

Incredible. Admitted criminal former Luzerne County Clerk of Courts Bob Reilly formed a company called Tri-State Chemical March 21, 2011 that was awarded a county contract to provide cleaning supplies valued at $6500 on August 23, 2011. Reilly plead guilty to lying to a FBI agent and was sentenced to probation November 4, 2010. He was originally charged with accepting a bribe from Barton Weidlich but cut a deal with the feds.

Controller Walter Griffith discovered the ownership of the company and has asked the Commissioners to cancel the contract and put it on a no bid list. Various lawyers quoted in the media are not sure if that is possible and Commissioner Chair Maryanne Petrilla points out that the county contracts with thousands of companies. The challenge is to develop a vetting process to prevent this type of thing from happening again if possible. Reilly's lawyer argues that the guy has to make a living.

You have to wonder what this guy is thinking by putting in a bid for county business after disgracing himself. As Michelle Bachman would say, he has a lot of choot-spa.

Commissioners probe how firm owned by former clerk of courts won county contract

Controller wants to void bids from Reilly-owned company

Sunday, October 09, 2011

James O'Meara for Plains Township Commissioner

There a 3 spots up for election in my little burgh for township commissioner. 3 Democrats are on the ballot but only 1 Republican. The Dems are Brigid Murray O'Conner, Ciro Cinto and Ron Filippini. Well known names in these parts. I have never met Mrs. O'Conner but I'm sure when we do we will have a good time discussing her dad.

My pick in this race is my friend James O'Meara Sr. Nothing against the other candidates but I think it's about time a Republican is added to the board.

Vote James O'Meara Sr.
4) I will oppose gas drilling in Plains Township. That’s as plain as I can say it.

It will not be easy to win this November.

There will be three names on the Republican ballot, but I am the only Republican. (The others are write-in candidates.) That’s going to make winning a tougher nut for me to crack. I’ll need your help. Here’s what I ask:

IF YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN: Bullet vote for me and only me for Plains Township Commissioner.

IF YOU ARE A DEMOCRAT, INDEPENDENT, or OTHER PARTY VOTER : Consider giving me one of your three votes. If there’s someone on the Democrat side of the ballot who you find yourself unhappy with, vote for me instead.

It is time to have another voice on the Board of Commissioners. I ask that you vote for me. I'm an independent thinker, and I'm beholden to no one.

Sports Weekend

Bad times for Philadelphia sports team.

The Phillies get knocked out of the playoffs losing a pitchers dual 1-0 in the 5th game of the NLDS. Ironic that a team built on pitching can't hit the other guy.

The good news for the Eagles is that they didn't collapse in the the 2nd half and came storming back but it's awfully hard to win a game when you turn the ball over 5 times.

The good news

Mrs. G is happy that her Stillers won big today and I'm happy that Penn State won a defensive battle 13-3 vs. Iowa. The Lions will be favored to win the next 2 against Purdue and Northwestern to get bowl eligible but November will be tough. Now that Nebraska has joined the Big 10 (11,12, etc) we get to play them every year. Oh joy.

It hasn't rained in Texas for most of the whole summer but as soon as the Rangers make the playoffs the skies open up. When teams build new stadiums in the future they should consider retractable roofs. The melting of the polar ice caps has resulted in more moisture in the atmosphere that is causing more frequent and severe storms according to most climate scientists.

My pick for the World Series is Tigers vs. Brewers.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

You Tube weekend

I like to use the headlines for this feature

Sarah Palin not Running for President

Comedians and cartoonists mourn

Tina Fey shaves head

Expect the GOP candidates to make a trek to Wasilla to kiss her ring and ask for an endorsement. It's already started

Rick Santorum Reaches Out for Sarah Palin Endorsement

Some are rejoicing

Andrew Sullivan:

Her explanation is, as usual, opaque. But the idea that this person is protecting her family - after putting them all on a reality show, after deploying an infant with Down Syndrome as a book-selling prop, after pushing her son into the military, after sending her elderly dad headfirst into a ravine for a reality TV shot, and after using another young daughter as a campaign press bouncer ... well, it's as ludicrous as almost everything she says. I suspect she knows somewhere that the truth about her will eventually come out in full - as it has already in part, culminating with Joe McGinniss' devastating and exhaustively reported book, The Rogue. And the sheer craziness of this clinically disturbed person would bring it all crashing down. So she's bowing out. Call it cowardice; call it a rare example of sanity; call it a bizarre end to an even weirder game of hide and seek for the past few months. But the bottom line is: we can stop worrying about the threat she posed to this country. That is all I really cared about: the insane gamble with the world that John McCain foisted on us, with no vetting and no reason but desperation and cynicism.

My favorite Palin cartoon

Some people actually think that she said "I can see Russia from my house."

After she was added to the ticket by John McCain this explanation the decision process came out

Friday, October 07, 2011

I got some dirt today

I used it to fill the holes that Quincy dug in the yard. He objected to that and dug it up again.

Tea party gives gas pains to Barletta and Marino

With a few exceptions freshman Congressmen Tom Marino and Lou Barletta have voted with the Republican leadership to destroy Medicare, gut environmental regulations , cut the funding of vital agencies that protect our food, air and water then complain that they are not doing enough to protect their constituents. But that hypocrisy didn't matter much to the teabaggers.

What has got them exercised is a tax break for the development of natural gas vehicles.

Politics PA: Barletta and Marino are co-sponsors of the NAT GAS Act (H.R. 1380), which would allow for an excise tax credit for alternative fuels, a tax credit for business that produce natural gas vehicles or alternative refueling stations, and an income tax credit for individuals who purchase alternative fuel vehicles.

I have to say that I agree with them. Making the tax code even more complicated and favoring one business over another just distorts the marketplace. On the state level programs such as Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ) just pit pit one town and state against another and in the end the taxpayers get screwed.

Not that us taxpayers are not used to getting screwed but we don't like it but just can't figure a way yet to fix it.

Motor City defeats the Evil Empire

Tigers 3 Yankees 2

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Pennsylvania Judicial elections

As usual the elections for the PA Superior and Commonwealth courts are flying under the radar along with the retention question for 6 members of the 3 state appellate courts. It's one of those things that I've seen a tidbit about here and there that didn't register until I took a look at the Luzerne County sample ballot tonight, thanks Lenny. PMC has a rundown of all the candidates.

One seat is up for the Superior Court and the candidates are Republican Vic Stabile and Democrat David Wecht. Commonwealth Court nominees are Ann Covey (R) and Kathryn Boockvar (D) competing for the open spot.

I don't pay much attention to the statewide Judge races because the candidates run on their bio's and promise to be tough on crime with an emphasis on locking up all the drug dealers. But then every politician promises to lock up all the druggies and we all know that policy has worked out well over the past 40 years. More drugs, more crime and a record number of people in prison. Drug addiction should not be treated as a law enforcement issue but a public health problem but that will require a change in federal law. Their campaigns are financed by the lawyers that will appear before them but they assure us that that will not influence their rulings. What a bunch of hooey.

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts make a good case for scrapping the present system and going with merit selection of Judges. Their blog documents the problems with electing appellate Judges and suggests improvements to the process.

In the 2009 contest for PA Supreme Court Justice we elected Joan Orie Melvin who is now in a lot of hot water along with her sister.

I'm willing to go further and go with merit selection for county judges. Do you think Michael Conahan could have survived a background check?

Vote no on retention.

I have never voted to retain a Judge as I think that elections for the offices are pointless in the first place. Very few people have lost the question but in recent years Russell Nigro and
Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. have been tossed by the voters.

This coming November we will be asked to decide if 6 people should continue in their positions.
There is not a big controversy this time such as the midnight pay raise or the kids for cash scandal so they will probably be retained.

•Justice J. Michael Eakin, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania –
•Judge John T. Bender, Superior Court of Pennsylvania -
•Judge Mary Jane Bowes, Superior Court of Pennsylvania
•Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania –
•Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania –
•Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr., Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania –

They have all been recomended by the PA Bar Association.

I'm still voting NO.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Tax break for flood damaged properties

Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla's office sent me this:

Luzerne County advises any property owner affected by the September 8, 2011 flooding that they have the right to file an Appeal with The Board of Assessment Appeals within the remainder of the County fiscal year in which the catastrophic loss occurred or within 6 months of the date when the catastrophic loss occurred, whichever period is longer.

A Catastrophic loss is a loss of 50% or more of the market value of the property. Appeal fees for flood victims will be waived.

You may obtain appeal forms from the following sources:

On the internet at under “Departments and Agencies”.
At the Assessment office located in the basement of the Courthouse.
By calling The Assessment Office at (570) 825-1858 to request the form be sent to you.

The wording is a little clunky and the PR didn't provide a hot link to the required form but I think I found it here:

Michelle should be proud of me if I got it right.

Congressman Lou Barletta took to the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday to tell his colleagues about the devastating flooding that hit Northeastern Pennsylvania and push his bill to lower the interest rate for disaster relief loans to 1%.

But can anyone honestly say that providing disaster recovery loans for American homeowners and American businesses should be a moneymaking operation?

The transcript of his remarks are not available online yet but you can see the speech on his YouTube Channel.

My memory may be a bit faulty ( help me out Yonk) but if I remember right everybody who was affected by the 1972 Agnes flood got $3000 without having to pay it back then had to pay 1% for anything over that. Dan Flood did that.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

End of the line for Lokuta

It was along shot that the US Supreme Court would hear case the case of Judge Ann Lokuta and yesterday they made it official.

U.S. Supreme Court denies Lokuta a hearing

I have linked to many stories of the last few years documenting the raw deal Lokuta got from the Court of Judicial Discipline and the appellate courts. She complained to the CJD in 2006 about Michael Conahan, alleging wide-spread corruption including case-fixing, mob ties and the improper placement of juveniles in a privately owned juvenile detention facility. Her allegations turned out to be true.

Remember that she was not convicted of doing anything illegal and her chief accusers are admitted criminals led by Judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella, Conahan's cousin Bill Sharkey who is in jail for being a thief and "poor, poor pitiful me" disgraced former Prothonotary Jill Moran. One of the people that sat in judgement of her was Richard Sprague who was a lawyer for Robert Powell who was one of the people paying off the Judges. Powell is a law partner and business partner of Jill Moran. Powell, Moran, Conahan and Ciavarella are also business partners as well as Pat Judge.

This is another miscarriage of justice and cries out for reform of our judicial system.
Judges on Merit has been pushing to change the way we select statewide judges advocating a vetting process and appointment system for appellate court judges. The present system of electing judges has some serious problems. The judicial elections are usually under the radar races decided by party affiliation and who can raise the most money from the lawyers that will later appear before them. I would go further and appoint the judges of the county court of common pleas. Do you think Michael Conahan could have a survived a background check after his implication in the Empire drug ring?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Bank of America $5 debit card fee is a good thing

Hear me out.

First, the Occupy Wall Street protest that has been going on might get the attention from the TV networks and other mainstream media outlets that it deserves. From the coverage I've seen so far they are depicted as anarchists that deserved to be viciously attacked by the NYC police.

The reaction from BoA customers online crashed the company's website.

Smaller banks smell an opprotunity

Bank of America “struck the third rail on this one,’’ said Joe Bartolotta, a spokesman for Eastern Bank, based in Boston. “We think it will be an opportunity to attract new customers. People are fed up with fees.’’

My advice to BoA and other big bank customers is to join a credit union. I didn't even know what a credit was until I joined the Air Force and have been a member of one ever since. The rules for joining have been liberalized over the years thanks in part to former Congressman Paul Kanjorski's efforts. We have been members of the Cross Valley Federal Credit Union for years with no fees on our accounts. Even when I screw up the math in my checking account and overdraw it they just transfer money from savings and charge a $2 fee not $35 that the big banks hit you with.

One of my favorite economics bloggers, Kevin Drum, explains why this is good thing:

Bank Fees Finally Out in the Open

Unfortunately, it's hard to explain why this is, nonetheless, a good thing. But here's the nickel version: the old fees were largely hidden. The new ones aren't. Overdraft fees were deliberately designed to be unpredictable, unforeseen, and primarily aimed at low-income users. Swipe fees were invisible because the credit card industry is effectively a duopoly and prohibits merchants from adding swipe fees to credit card bills. After all, if they did that, consumers might actually see what they were really paying for the privilege of using credit and debit cards.

So yes: the new fees are annoying. But that's a feature, not a bug, because now they're right up front in black and white, which means that consumers will see them and can be properly outraged (or not) by them. This in turn means that the free market has a chance to actually work: consumers will abandon Bank of America if their fees are too high and force them to charge less. Likewise, other banks will compete openly on the size of their fees. In the end, this competition will force fees down to the lowest possible profitable level, which is exactly what competition is supposed to.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Young Republicans have questions for Jackie Mo

From the inbox


For additional information, contact:
Luzerne County Young Republicans

In light of the recent sentencing of Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan for their roles in the “Kids for Cash” scandal, The Luzerne County Young Republicans (LCYRs) seek answers to lingering questions surrounding Luzerne County corruption. How could this scandal have continued for years without any County Officials noticing? Would the scandal have been prevented, or at least its effect been minimized, if other County officials had done their jobs?

The Interbranch Juvenile Commission shed light on these questions. In its report, the Commission concluded that District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll failed to perform her duties and showed no interest or concern for the juvenile court system during the “Kids for Cash scandal.”

In addition to her negligence, Musto Carroll engaged in nepotism and cronyism by hiring Mark Ciavarella’s daughter and daughter-in-law in the District Attorney’s Office. Jackie Musto Carroll’s actions reek of corruption and the LCYRs believe she owes the residents of Luzerne County an explanation for her behavior.

The LCYRs request that District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll formally answer each of the following questions and return the same to the LCYRs.

1. Why did you fail to discover the Kids for Cash scandal?

2. By your own admission, you never set foot in a juvenile courtroom during the Kids for Cash scandal. Why did you ignore this part of your job?

3. Under your watch, the Assistant District Attorneys were not adequately trained and as a result failed to recognize and challenge the routine deprivation of juveniles’ constitutional rights by Mark Ciavarella. Why did you fail to train your Assistant District Attorneys when proper training would have prevented the scandal?

4. Despite the obvious nepotism and cronyism involved, why did you hire Mark Ciavarella’s daughter and daughter-in-law in the District Attorney’s Office?

5. Did Mark Ciaveralla ask you to hire his daughter and daughter-in-law, or contact you in any way regarding the hiring process?

6. Do you believe that nepotism or cronyism have any place in government?

7. Given the Interbranch Juvenile Commission’s finding that you “stood by and abdicated” your responsibility as a prosecutor, how can the residents of Luzerne County have any faith that you will not to continue to abdicate your responsibility since you have already set abdication of responsibility as a precedent?

8. Given the Commission’s finding that you “demonstrated no initiative, interest, or concern with what was occurring in juvenile court,” how can the residents of Luzerne County feel confident that you can effectively lead the charge of protecting our children?

9. Why did you fight to block the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from reviewing whether the Luzerne County juveniles, who were denied legal counsel, were entitled to relief?

The LCYRs have sent the above questions to Jackie Musto Carroll. We request that she answer and return the above questions to the LCYRs by October 14, 2011.

The Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice Report via SOP

In testimony before the commission, current District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll and her predecessor, David W. Lupas, who is now a county judge presiding over juvenile matters, "incredibly conceded that they had never set foot in a juvenile court throughout their entire careers," the report said. Lupas and Musto Carroll "demonstrated no initiative, interest, or concern with what was occurring in juvenile court."

From the TL:
Musto Carroll declined Friday to comment or address the questions in the release. She and Lupas have said assistant district attorneys never made them aware of concerns they had in juvenile court.

The LCYR's don't have a website but you can find them on Facebook