Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Phil Scollo for Congress

A former Carney staffer dropped this into my inbox:

.Phil Scollo, 56, a resident of Dingman Township, Pike County, announces his intention to seek the Democratic Party nomination to run for Congress in the 10th District. The decision comes on the heels of last week’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that quashed proposed redistricting and, with it, Mr. Scollo’s plan to run for the Pennsylvania Assembly, in the 139th District, against a heretofore unchallenged incumbent. “Opportunity often follows disappointment in life”, Mr. Scollo observed. “In these unprecedented times, the residents of the 10th Congressional District certainly deserve a choice.”

Mr. Scollo, a native New Yorker, moved to the Milord area, with wife, Karen and two of his three children in 1998. A summa cum laude graduate of St. John’s University, he holds a B.S. in Government and Politics. A former insurance industry executive and currently a management consultant, Mr. Scollo believes his business experience and problem solving skills will transfer neatly to public service. Before the April Primary, he vows to visit every county of Pennsylvania’s largest Congressional District, meet with the residents and listen to truly understand their concerns.

“With the Pennsylvania economy in shambles and so many hurting, I promise to work singularly and tirelessly, and without concern for the divisive partisanship that has rendered government impotent in the eyes of most people,” Mr. Scollo exclaimed.

Romney cleans up in Florida

Florida - 6545 of 6796 Precincts Reporting - 96%

Romney , Mitt 763,848 46%

Gingrich , Newt 524,741 32%

Santorum , Rick 219,634 13%

Paul , Ron 115,271 7%

Newt Gingrich said he is in it to the end but that could change tomorrow. He also brought up President Obama's singing and blew the food stamp dog whistle again. Mitt Romney read a speech off a teleprompter saying the President is an appeaser and apologist in foreign policy. Tell that to the terrorists that have been blown up by a drone attack or got a bullet in the head like Osama Bin Laden. Rick Santorum mentioned his ill daughter then paid tribute to his opponents and the way they make their money. Ron Paul is coming across as the happy warrior of this contest.

David Decoteau, candidate for Delegate in the New 11th Congressional District.

From Nothington Post:

I’m a registered Republican, and I’m ashamed of the GOP

Since Pennsylvania makes me choose a party in order to participate in our electoral system, I chose Republican because in the old, and classic definition of the word; I’m a conservative. Conservative used to mean you wanted sound money. Conservative used to mean balanced budgets and spending within our means. Conservative used to mean you didn’t care what people did in their bedrooms; because it is none of your damn business. Conservative used to mean pro-small business. Conservative used to mean a foreign policy of non-interventionism. In other words, “Trade with all and entangling alliances with none” as our Founders intended....If you are a Republican (like me) that thinks the GOP is out of touch with the people; send me to Tampa Bay to tell them for you. I’ll tell them to get back to the traditional Conservative platform. I’ll pay my own way. No tax payer expense will be incurred.

Lou Barletta wants more LIHEAP money

The last few press releases I got from Congressman Lou Barletta have me confused. He votes for a Balanced Budget Amendment that would gut what is called discretionary spending ending just about every social program that the federal government funds.

In his response to President Obama's State of the Union address he decried that "Since the president took office, a record number of Americans are receiving food stamps."

Barletta brags that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the buyouts of residential properties in Plymouth Township, Shickshinny and Benton Township. He proudly announced that local fire companies are recipients of DOH grants. He took credit for $40 million in highway repair funds to fix our roads that were damaged by the summer hurricanes. He announced that the Delaware Water Gap will get 1/2 mil to study traffic. Farmers will get help according to this Barletta press release.

If the Balanced Budget Amendment was passed none of these projects would have happened.

He did get a post office renamed and announced that the Shickshinny Post Office should reopen within 60 days.

Food stamps are bad but warm in the winter is good. Cold and hungry is bad. Warm and hungry is OK.

Rep. Barletta calls on President Obama to increase LIHEAP funding

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, again called on President Obama to increase or at least continue at the current level the funding for home heating assistance for veterans and seniors through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“Many veterans who might be eligible for LIHEAP don’t know they can take advantage of the program, but they absolutely can. We need to help our veterans and seniors stay warm in the winter. We can’t let them slip through the cracks. We need to fund LIHEAP,” Rep. Barletta said. “Many in Northeastern Pennsylvania struggle to pay for their heat. They have to make the difficult choice between paying for food and keeping warm, and that just isn’t acceptable. More and more Americans are hurting, so it’s incredibly important that President Obama keep LIHEAP funded at current levels, if not increase that funding.”
A January 26 letter coauthored by Rep. Barletta and Rep. Edward Markey (D, MA-7) calls on the president to request at least $4.7 billion for LIHEAP in Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13). More than 100 House members – Republicans and Democrats – signed the letter.
Because of the efforts of Rep. Barletta and others in Congress, LIHEAP funding this fiscal year topped $3.4 billion – almost $1 billion more than President Obama had requested for FY12. Of that, almost $210 million is allocated for the Pennsylvania program. [Source: Campaign for Home Energy Assistance]
LIHEAP helps low-income families pay their heating bills through a cash grant sent directly to the utility company or as a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.
The number of households with at least one military veteran receiving LIHEAP assistance swelled from 700,000 in FY 2008 to 1.78 million in FY 2011. This is an increase of over 150 percent during the past four years, according to a survey by the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA). The bulk of energy aid recipients who served in the military are over 60. Almost half are disabled. Of the veterans who received help, 12 percent served in Iraq and Afghanistan; about seven percent are on active duty.
LIHEAP provided vital heating assistance to 8.9 million households in 2011 – an increase of 54 percent since 2008.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

PA Attorney General race news

No candidate was able to muster the two thirds vote necessary to get the Pennsylvania Democratic Party endorsement last weekend,The Next Stage gives the play by play. Since then Dan McCaffery decided he didn't have enough support and dropped out of the race. That leaves former Congressman Patrick Murphy and Lackawanna County Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kane vieing for the Democratic nomination. The winner will take on Republican David Freed.

Murphy is a King's College Wilkes-Barre grad and friend of the blog who keeps racking up endorsements. The latest is from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter:

“We need a tough Attorney General who is smart on crime, who understands that consumers need to be protected, that seniors need to be protected, that all of us need the protection of a strong, independent Attorney General. He has been a great champion for this city, this region, and of course, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Mayor Nutter. “His military career and his service to the nation as a military officer and as a lawyer in the military again demonstrate his true commitment to public service. What I really like about Patrick, my friend, is that he will defend our rights while at the same time make sure we are all safe.”

Add this to the list. A bunch of Allegheny County politicos and labor leaders signed on and my 2nd favorite member of Congress Allyson Schwatrz, who should run for the Senate, backed him earlier.

The Luzerne County Democratic Party endorsed him .

The list of pols local and otherwise that is on his side

Murphy for PA Endorsements

Elected Officials

Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania Governor
Tim Holden, U.S. Rep.
Allyson Schwartz,
U.S. RepRon Klink, Former U.S. Rep.
Paul Kanjorski, Former U.S. Rep.
Harris Wofford, Former U.S. Senator
Dan Onorato, Former Allegheny County Executive
Seth Williams, Philadelphia District Attorney
John Hanger, Former Secretary of PA Department of Environmental Protection
Dwight Evans, State Rep.
Mike Carroll, State. Rep.
Phillys Mundy, State Rep.
Eddie Day Pashinski, State Rep.
Jennifer Mann, State Rep.
TJ Rooney, Former Chair, PA Dems
Kathy Kane, Luzerne County

Issue Advocacy Groups

The Human Rights Campaign


Saturday, January 28, 2012

PA 17th Congressional District update

Matt Cartwright announced Tuesday that he take on Tim Holden for the Democratic nomination for the the newfangled 17th CD.

His announcement speech was music to a lot of Democrats ears (via DWT) saying "But when a handful of representatives from the Democratic Party turn their backs on the middle class, and start voting like Wall Street Republicans, something is really wrong. Something even more fundamental is broken.What’s broken is their promise to protect the middle class instead of the profits of big banks…or the oil & gas companies… or Wall Street. What’s broken is their promise to vote for bills that benefit the middle class and not loopholes that benefit special interests. What’s broken is their pledge to make decisions based on what’s best for the average family and not what’s best for the lobbyists contributing to their campaign funds...As a Congressman I won’t need campaign donations from special interest groups to know what the right thing to do is. I will already know what the right thing to do is....As a Congressman I will not apologize for being a Democrat. As a Congressman I will not forget that the Democratic Party is the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt....Let’s elect a Democratic congressman who votes like a Democrat. Let’s elect a Democratic Congressman from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."

Contrast that statement with the press release Tim Holden sent out last March.

Rep. Holden was ranked the 187th most conservative member in all of Congress, fourth most conservative remaining Democrat after the 2010 midterm elections.

More from Howie: 2010 was a conservative year and Holden won. Since then, he has voted (on crucial roll calls) with the Democrats 31.96% of the time. That's right-- Holden has backed the right-wing agenda espoused by Cantor and Boehner 68% of the time.

I was wondering if any Republican would get into the race, none so far , then we get this from PoliticsPA

Luzerne County Councilman Stephen Urban, who made headlines last year when he switched from Republican to Democrat, is circulating nominating petitions for U.S. Congress. He would face incumbent Rep. Tim Holden and Democratic primary challenger Matt Cartwright, an attorney from Scranton....If Urban enters the race, it would be a big boon to Holden. He would likely split the Lackawanna-Luzerne bloc that is key to Cartwright’s campaign.

I don't know how much of an impact Urban would have on the the race as his fundraising for his past campaigns for Congress, State Senator, Lt. Governor, etc. (as a Repuplican) has always been anemic. He rode his name recognition to a seat on the new Luzerne County Council then left a poison pill budget as outgoing Commissioner under the old system that the new bunch can't reconcile because it just doesn't add up. I have always liked Steve but lately he has been acting like a jerk. Not taking the oath of office with the rest of our new councilors and abstaining on the vote for the Manager because he applied for the position. Now this.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chris Carney is not running

This story in the The Daily Item about a petition party for candidates in Union County caught my eye.
Committee Chairman Rick Thomas said "We haven't heard if Carney is going to run again," Thomas said of former Democratic Rep. Chris Carney, who lost his seat in Congress to Marino in 2010. It's been widely reported that Carney planned to challenge Marino in the next election, but Thomas said there's been no news of late."If no one decides to declare at this point, it's possible we won't have a challenger on the ballot."
There was also speculation that Carney might run in the 11thCD. He teased that he would run again but wouldn't answer the telephone calls of reporters or bloggers. There is a Draft Chris Carney Facebook page that is now dead and the Act Blue account has been deleted.
Chris Carney landed a job with a defense contractor in Virginia and the redistricting probably put his old district out of reach. I posted in September that he was unlikley to run. Too bad, I'll take a blue dog in a Republican district over a tea bagger any day.

Kevin Haggerty for State Represenative

I usually don't cover political happenings in Lackawanna County but my friend and fellow blogger Tom Borthwick of NEPartisan sent this along.


Dunmore, Pa. -- Kevin Haggerty is pleased to officially announce his candidacy for Pennsylvania's 112th legislative district.
"I believe this district needs somebody who represents their values and so I'm asking for the support of the voters of the 112th," said Haggerty. "The blue collar, hard-working families need a voice. They've been ignored by Harrisburg for too long."
Haggerty's previous experience running for state representative, along with his continued outreach to its residents, lends him insight into the needs and wants of the people of the district, he argued. "People prioritize education, they want to see legislators working to bring in new jobs, and they want to make sure their representatives are accessible and accountable. I hear that message loud and clear."
Kevin has a deep respect for public education. He knows that without adequate investment in education, our future is in jeopardy. As the state has failed to properly fund out schools, local property taxes have risen, teachers and programs have been cut, and students are being shortchanged. Coming from a family who attended public school from K-12, Kevin has a great interest in the public school system and would never vote for cuts to education. Instead, he will work to restore funding to our schools to give our kids the education they deserve and need to compete in the 21st century. Haggerty's opponent, current Representative Ken Smith, voted with Republicans to take vital funds away from education on HB 1330 and has been a supporter of charter expansion.
As a Former Member of the Board of Directors for Penn's Northeast and NEPA Alliance, Kevin has the background and experience needed to create and strengthen regional businesses. Supporting the growth of small business is essential to creating a healthy tax base in our communities. Kevin wants to strengthen programs that invest in family-owned businesses and go after employers who don't pay their fair share or allow unsafe working conditions. Representative Smith has not, in his nearly 6 years as a legislator, co-sponored any pro-union legislation, nor even written or introduced major legislation in the General Assembly. Kevin will be an active legislator who doesn't stay on the sidelines. Additionally, Mr. Smith has never adequately addressed the issues of his failure to pay taxes, his failure repay a government-backed loan, and his failure to pay into Social Security and Unemployment for his workers during the time he owned Smith's Restaurant. Kevin believes our representatives need to be held to a high standard: one of integrity and credibility.
As this is a Democratic Primary, it should be noted that Mr. Smith voted with Republicans to gerrymander the state during the Congressional Redistricting process. Kevin is vehemently opposed to disenfranchising Democrats, particularly since they have a roughly 1.8 million voter registration advantage over Republicans. Mr. Smith guaranteed Republican dominance at the expense of those whose interests he should be guarding.
Kevin hasn't stopped being an active participant in his community and his district. Reaching out to community members through local events and door-to-door, Kevin has made sure to be there to listen to the concerns of residents. That won't stop if elected. "It would be my priviledge to serve as a voice for the citizens of the 112th," Haggerty said. "I'll work tirelessly to be the representative the 112th deserves."
Kevin is a Dunmore resident along with his wife, Jennifer Griglock Haggerty, and his son, Kevin Joseph. Kevin graduated from Villanova University and is a former US Marine.
Visit TalkToKevin.com for more information

Thursday, January 26, 2012

PA Supreme Court throws out reapportionment

Pa. high court rejects remapping plan

Wow. This is a surprise given that there are 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats on the court. Chief Justice Ronald Castille sided with the Democrats that the plan for the state legislature chopped up too many towns just to advantage the Republicans.


Justice Joan Orie Melvin predictably thought that was OK. In a 2009 appearance in Wilkes-Barre she gave a speech that was inappropriately long for a warm up act, Melvin basically said "elect me so Republicans make of the majority of the PA Supreme Court, and we can rig the 2010 reapportionment for the Republicans." She later had a campiagn ad with a Soviet-era hammer-and-sickle inside the "O" in Obama's last name. Now she is the target of a criminal investigation.

Calls grow for Supreme Court Justice Melvin to resign

Right now it looks like the old maps wil be used in the upcoming election but that could change once the Supreme Court opinion is released.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aaron Kaufer for State Representative

Young Republican Aaron Kaufman announced he is a candidate for the 120th State Representative seat presently held by Democrat Phyllis Mundy. It looks like this will be a 2 person race as no Libertarian seems to be interested unlike last time and I haven't heard of another Republican on the west side willing to take on my 4th favorite state legislator.

Kaufer gave a very polished speech saying it's time for a change and cited an old adage about not making waves in politics, he said he wanted to make waves. Then he lamented that "compromise became a dirty word" and promised to work across the aisle.

He hit 4 issues in his talk.

1. The grant system. He doesn't like WAM's

2. Government reform. He is running against the perks of the legislature opposing their pensions, health care, COLA's and the per diems of $163 a day.

3. He said some things about educating our children. We should do it.

4. Economic growth. He is for it.

Without naming his opponent Kaufer asked "are you being adequately represented"? and said "I can do better." Invoking Saint Ronny he declared "our best days are ahead."

After the event I asked Kaufer what the the first bill he would introduce he said it would be about the perks and per diems of the legislature. I asked him how much money that would save but he didn't have a number. He also favors reducing the size of the legislature.

This a great picture below. All the Republicans and a Libertarian wh0 came up short in past elections with the latest GOP candidate in the 120th Discrict.

(Lto R) Bill James, Aaron Kaufer, Rick Arnold, Tim Mullen, Bill Goldsworthy, John Cordara

Phyllis Mundy has been the State Reprensenative of the 120th District since 1991. She will be hard to beat.

Luzerne County Council to hire a manager

The papers are reporting that a guy from California will be offered the job as the first Luzerne County manager under home rule later today. The CV and the TL say the pick is Robert Lawton. I don't know much about him other than what I read in papers but certainly wish him the best. He is walking into a mess of a budget situation left over by former Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla, Steve Urban and the other guy that interim manager Tom Pribula has been trying to address. He keeps proposing a mix of tax increases and budget cuts that the new council keeps shooting down. Sounds a lot like what is going on in Washington.

I have been getting beat up in the comments and other blogs for my backing of the new form of government. It's a school board, it won't work, etc. The new charter is not perfect but then what is? I preferred the previous charter with an elected county executive and a mix of distict and at-large elections for the council. That plan was shot down when Skrep and Vondy said "trust us." That worked out well.

This new form of government was passed as a reaction to the Juvie Brothers scandal for sure. The thing I like about it was elimination of most of the row offices that were power centers with no oversight. How many of them went to jail? There is no Democratic or Republican way to perform an autopsy (Coronor) or to register a will. And What the hell is a Prothonotary?

If they hire Lawton and he doesn't back out before February 21st the Yonk has some advice. A couple of my favs

Don’t take it personally if people don’t like you because you’re an outsider. People from Scranton have the same problem.

If someone says you’re a cousin….don’t believe them

Abe’s Hot Dogs, South Main, the original. Don’t settle.

There are two Steve Urbans on the County Council, one has hair, the other doesn’t. Both may seem like the same person so you’ll need to tell them apart.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ransom Young for State Representative

From the inbox:

Ransom Young announces today that he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for State Representative in the 116th district.

Young, 57, a life-long resident of Butler Township with deep roots in Southern Luzerne County, owns and operates the family farm of four generations that has been enrolled under the Luzerne County Agricultural Preservation Program since 2001.

He is married to Deborah Jones, formerly of West Hazleton.

Young, no stranger to civic involvement has been a member of Butler Township Board of Supervisors for 28 years and was former chairman. Young has been chairman, vice chairman and is currently treasurer of the Luzerne County Association of Elected Officials. He feels his involvement will benefit both his candidacy and the people o the 116th district. "I'm proud of the fact that Butler Township boasts one of the lowest property taxes in Luzerne County. I've worked hard over the years to make sure we've kept taxes low while still providing the services the citizens of the township deserve. Despite our low taxes we've managed to build and maintain a full time police force, provided recreational facilities and maintained good roads and invested 17.7 million dollars to update our sewage treatment plant."

In describing his desire to run, Young states; "This district needs a representative that symbolizes the face of the community, and I am willing to fight for those people. I'm a blue-collar person who will use common sense when facing a problem. I think what is missing in Harrisburg is the common sense approach. As a candidate and State Representative, I promise you, no one will work harder for you than I will. I will surround myself with quality and caring people."

"The Marcellus Shale issue is something that concerns everyone. Once we lose our fresh water source, we lose it forever. We have to make sure that regulations are in place to keep our people and our water safe. We have an amazing opportunity to eliminate our dependency on foreign energy sources, if we manage it correctly. With nearly 8% unemployment in the state we must ensure that the jobs created in the gas industry are for Pennsylvania residents; we have the best skilled and most dedicated workers in America. If the gas industry paid their fair share in a severance tax, the money could go into the general fund so that the gambling revenues would go towards property tax relief as it was originally intended."

"I believe I am the best choice for this office, because I understand the issues and will represent the diverse people of the 116th district, from Huntington Mills to Hazleton. I am a farmer, worked blue-collar jobs and I have balanced budgets in local government. I'm ready to take on this responsibility and I'm asking for your support in April and November.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Newt fan

This a blast from the past. When I first started blogging one of my regular sparring partners was Dr. Rick. I haven't from him in a while until this popped up in my inbox today.

Newts Authentic Conservatism by Richard R Tennesen

The overwhelming results of the South Carolina primary indicate not necessarily that Newt Gingrich is their (or anyone’s) favorite candidate but that Newts authentic conservatism and representation of the pulse of America is best articulated by him. While accepting the victory, Newt acknowledged this very fact. Let’s be clear: America is not searching for an anti-Romney candidate. America has been searching for a bona fide conservative with the record to back it up and whose views are aligned with their own. They find this in Newt Gingrich.

Newt has an astute mind, possesses poignant debate skills, is focused on issues, continues to attack Obama for failed policy and an abysmal economy, represents American exceptionalism, and has an American Conservatives Union rating higher than any other candidate. Historically speaking, Newt also took on Bill Clinton as Speaker of the House to collaboratively enact entitlement reform, experience job growth with minimal unemployment, and enact four-consecutive balanced budgets which often get accredited to Clinton.

Some claim however, that Newt has too much baggage.

On the contrary, Newt distinguishes himself from the perceived frontrunner Mitt Romney as being the conservative not to have enacted the precursor to Obamacare in Massachusetts. Newt has legislated as a conservative, and despite Romney’s touted experience as an executive in the private sector, he neglects to mention the failures of many of those companies. Are these the kind of issues that you want to see Obama levy at Mitt on the debate stage? Romney has no retort. In fact, Obama might even suggest that the two are quite similar.

Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, would have the President sleepless at night in preparation for their debates. Fearless in confronting media bias, “gotcha” moderators, liberal talking points, and disingenuous competition (Romney), Gingrich appears comfortable at the podium and at times professorial. His media contrived reputation for having a temper and unpredictable nature is (I believe) simply a manifestation of contempt for and opposition to distractions away from the real issues. Why? Because the media knows focusing on issues is a loss for Obama on all accounts.

Some say Newt is unelectable. South Carolina results and exit polls prove otherwise. Strength in debating and command of the issues catapulted Newt to prominence and victory for making these issues forefront: “Jobs, economic growth, balancing the budget, having stable money, energy independence, & producing a modern, lean federal government.” And by contrasting this distinction between himself and the President: “The outlining of the two Americas…the America of the Declaration of Independence - the America of Saul Alinsky, the America of pay checks - America of food stamps, the America of independence - the America of dependence, the America of strength in foreign policy - the America of weakness in foreign policy.” How can one ignore these truths?

Moreover, Newt continues confronting these issues: anti-religious bigotry of media elites and judiciary, that Obama is a radical, a “food stamp” President, and brandishing him as tantamount to Jimmy Carter! Not to mention his candid remarks for the media.

The American connection with Newts is visceral. He appears authentic and speaks from the heart. By contrast, some claim Mitt Romney appears to be too slick in the manner of presentation. I believe that, plus the perception of inevitability makes Americans uncomfortable. Overcoming that hurdle is why many conservatives have been unwilling to embrace Mitt.

The explanation for Newts success is authenticity, optimism, prowess in debates, focus on issues, and clear distinctions from Obama. He is not the anti-Romney candidate. He may be, however, the anti-Obama candidate.

Luzerne County Boards, Authorities and Commissions

This was sent along from my friend Kathy.


It is my hope the newly elected Luzerne County Council does not hastily appoint citizens who do not qualify for positions on Boards, Authorities and Commissions. I also hope other citizens are given time and concern to apply and adjust schedules for interviews. Do not use this process to discourage or limit interested applicants. Below is part of a recent email I received:

"Dear Kathy,
Thank you for your interest in serving your fellow citizens of Luzerne County as a member of the new Accountability, Conduct and Ethics Commission.
The Luzerne County Council requests your presence at a group interview session.
Due to the number of interested applicants, several interview sessions have been scheduled.
You are invited to participate in the 8:15 interview session on Monday evening, January 23, 2012 at the Luzerne County EMA building, Water Street, Wilkes-Barre."

When I requested another date and time to accommodate my work schedule, I received notice it was the only time available.

Only one meeting time is set to interview candidates for appointments to the ACCOUNTABILITY, CONDUCT AND ETHICS COMMISSION. More courtesy was given to the County Manager candidates in regard to confidentiality and interview times. Let's toss mutual respect out the window when interacting with those who live here in Luzerne County. Since, communication with County Council members is biased, my only option is to continue with public comment and keep in communication with the press. When trying to convey my concerns about several items, one phone communication resulted with a Luzerne County Council member, Mr. Eugene Kelleher raising his voice to get his message across and hanging up in the middle of the conversation. He was defending Chairman's Bobeck's violation of the Luzerne County Charter. He then was overheard that same evening boasting about it to Chairman Bobeck that he "hung up on Dobash". Mr. Kelleher broke his campaign promise. I guess this is just another average politician at work. This County Council member campaigned and gave out his phone number prior to election as a person who is approachable. This is a great disappointment. I believed in his integrity. Has power and position gone to his head? Intimidation strategy will not work with me. Your ego is very inflated.

I will not be intimidated by Luzerne County Council members. The frequent loud intonation utilized by Mr. Kelleher to give his opinion at meetings is ineffective and projects as another political grandstanding tactic. The citizens who attend meetings and make time to address issues at public comment are not children or students. Luzerne County Council members who are former teachers cannot apply teacher classroom management strategies to this position. Let's be real here.

I hope and pray The Luzerne County Home Rule Charter is followed. A precedent has been set with one breach of the charter by Mr. Bobeck. He worked for Luzerne County while serving on the Luzerne County Home Rule Transition Committee. Luzerne County Council elected him Chair. I read a prepared statement. I stated my concerns at the January 2, 2012 meeting and requested Council not to elect him as Chair. This has been deleted from the meeting minutes posted on the website. The meeting minutes do not reflect the recorded minutes which are public record. I filed a right to know request for the recordings. I am surprised at the tampering with historical record. Why are the minutes now 'watered down'? Why do you need to protect yourselves? Why throw out documented statements by citizens and elected officials? The correct minutes should be available for the public to review. Again, this lack of respect and blatant disregard of charter prohibitions can be viewed as a direct insult to every Luzerne County citizen. This is not accurate documentation of the meeting. I am grateful we have an honest Luzerne County Right to Know Officer who follows the law and provides the truthful and accurate public record when requested. Chariman Bobeck, why are you taking time to alter the meeting minutes before posting them on the County website? Luzerne County Home Rule is about open and transparent government which allows for citizen participation.

Does Luzerne County Council respect Luzerne County residents in regard to work schedules or is this another way to limit citizens to serve on Boards, Authorities and Commissions? Candidates for the hired County Executive were catered to by using Luzerne County tax dollars to pay for accommodations, etc. during the interview process. Mr. Kelleher announced at a Council meeting he gave the candidates tours. Luzerne County citizens should be given courtesy and time to interview properly for appointments to Boards, Authorities and Commissions. These are non-paid positions to serve the public.

I respectfully withdraw my name as a candidate to serve on the ACCOUNTABILITY, CONDUCT AND ETHICS COMMISSION. I cannot attend the interview. I ask for appropriate notice with other appointments in regard to interview times and schedules so more applicants may attend the public interview.

Luzerne County is one of the poorest counties in the nation. Many people work 2 or 3 jobs to live here. Please accommodate interested citizens who strive to live here, volunteer during times of disaster, volunteer to improve the quality of life and work to make Luzerne County better.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Dobash,

Hazleton, PA

Joe Pa RIP

Saturday, January 21, 2012

South Carolina exit polls

I got an email from a friend a few minutes ago saying that Newt Gingrich will win the South Carolina primary with 40% of the vote based on his/her glimpse of the exit polls. We will see.

This certainly has been a strange week in the weirdest presidential campaign seasons I have ever seen. On Thursday one story kept stepping on the other. It turns out that my favorite GOP candidate, Rick Santorum, actually won Iowa. Mitt Romney was still dodging the tax return question when asked if he would follow his father's honorable example he said "maybe." Texas Governor Rick Perry dropped out and endorsed Newt Gingrich. Newt previously said that John Bolton would be his Secretary of State so maybe he would appoint Perry as Ambassador to Turkey.

To top it off Newt turned a question in the debate about an interview with his 2nd wife who said he was a 2 timing shit who wanted an open marriage into an attack on the media. The crowd ate it up because Republicans are always the victim of some media conspiracy.

The thing I'm looking at tonight is the Herman Cain vote. It was too late for Stephen Colbert to get on the ballot and write-ins are not allowed so a vote for Cain is a surrogate vote for Colbert. I'm enjoying the mischief.

You Tube weekend

POTUS sings

He covers this song

Matt Cartwright for Congress

It's almost official.

From Borys: Attorney Matt Cartwright plans a "major announcement" Tuesday at a downtown Scranton hotel where he is expected to say he will seek the Democratic nomination to the 17th Congressional District seat held by incumbent Rep. Tim Holden...Mr. Cartwright gave no indication of a dissatisfaction with him on issues, Mr. Holden said.

We will see about that dissatisfaction thing.

The TL: Lackawanna County attorney Matt Cartwright will announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 17th Congressional District on Tuesday at noon at the Hilton Scranton Hotel and Conference Center.

The lefty blogosphere is buzzing about Cartwright.

Daily KOS

Jon Geeting

Down With Tyranny: But Republicans aren't the only ones running scared. Reactionary Blue Dogs who almost always go along with the worst right-wing ideas, especially when they smell corporate cash on the other end of a vote, were big SOPA supporters. Five Blue Dogs-- including two of the most corrupt in the kennel, John Barrow (GA) and Tim Holden (PA)-- were also co-sponsors. But now Holden has a progressive primary challenger, Matt Cartwright, and he's running scared. His new district is solidly blue, and his hideous right-wing voting record is indefensible. One attack from Cartwright, a prominent SOPA opponent, and Holden went running for the exit.

NEPartisan: Holden routinely votes with Republicans on their pet issues. If we want a Republican, we can elect one. If we want a Democrat, we can elect Matt Cartwright.

My post on Cartwight's Facebook page: I would be thrilled to have a Congressman from the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” I could put up with Holden when he representing a majority Republican district but now that he is running in my back yard his vote against the Affordable Care Act and sponsorship of the Stop Online Piracy Act are deal breakers for me. .. If you decide to run you may want to consider giving a local blogger the scoop.
So much for a local blogger scoop.

Friday, January 20, 2012

3 Republican State Rep candidates

Republican Rick Arnold will take on Gerald Mullery again in the 119th and may benefit from the redistricting. In 2010 Arnold lost by just 1300+ votes with a Libertarian candidate in the race. If this is a 2 person race it could be very competitive. He will kick off his campaign Saturday in Mountaintop.

PR: Arnold will launch his campaign before family, friends and supporters at 11:15 a.m. Jan. 21 at the Crestwood Industrial Park, Wright Township. Arnold, of Rice Township, said he chose the industrial park as the setting for his announcement because it symbolizes the major problem of the day – unemployment.

In the 121st Eddie Day Pashinski cruised to reelection last time and will face former Fairview Township Supervisor Pete Mailloux, a Republican who owns a business in Mountain Top. He will at the Wilkes-Barre Township Fire hall on Tuesday at 7:00PM to announce his run.

My 2nd, 3rd or 6th favorite State Rep Phyllis Mundy (depending on what day it is) will have a challenger, it's traditional. From the inbox:

Kingston, Pa. -- Aaron Kaufer will announce his candidacy for state representative of the 120th district in front of family, friends and supporters at the American Legion in Kingston at 6 p.m. Aaron will address the crowd at 7 p.m.

WHO: Kaufer Now Campaign, Aaron Kaufer for State Representative
WHAT: Aaron Kaufer’s announcement to run for State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 120th District.
WHEN: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (speech will be held at 7 p.m.)
WHERE: American Legion Post 395
386 Wyoming Ave.
Kingston, Pa. 18704

Maybe Omeed will have to take a sabitical to fend off this challenger. No word from John Cordara.

Info for this post came from YRLC and Bob Zaruta's Facebook pages. I always link back to my sources so hopefully I won't be gobbled up in the next incarnation of SOPA and banned to Mooslyvania .

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Congress bails on SOPA, protests work

Google, Wikipedia, Reddit and many other sites going dark yesterday got the attention of our alien robot overlords also known as the United States Congress. A bunch of Senators and House Members who sponsored the legislation have had second thoughts and withdrew their support for the bills.

On the local level 17th District Congressman Tim Holden (soon to be a candidate in parts of the traditionally 11th CD ) was an original cosponsor of the bill had a change of heart. Good for him.

From his Facebook page: "Based on my background as a sheriff, the Stop Online Piracy Act, commonly referred to as SOPA, was brought to me as a law enforcement bill. At its core, the bill's intent to eliminate theft by foreign websites protects the intellectual property of American manufacturers of all spheres. However, the possible unintended consequences, such as stifling innovation and limiting free speech on the Internet, have come to the forefront of debate. An open Internet requires that we find a better approach that is acceptable to all sides. Therefore, I am today withdrawing as a cosponsor of this bill and will work to find a solution that protects both the openness and innovation of the Internet as well as intellectual property."

There is nothing on his official House or campaign sites.

His primary opponent Matt Cartwright also sounded off on Facebook:

This is an atrocious bill in Congress that would criminalize all kinds of online conduct if it has anything to do with someone else's content. It would shut down Facebook. YouTube would be no more. People out there exercising free speech would go to jail. In my opinion, this legislation is so full of unconstitutional infringements on free speech and unconstitutionally vague criminalization of conduct that it is hard to believe its authors even read that document they swore to uphold and defend. In protest, major websites are going dark today, including Wikipedia, and, as you can see, our own Gort42.

Overall this a fight between some big corporations with the old ones going up against the new ones. The new ones won the argument for now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Huntsman out

I can't imagine why a Mandarin speaking former Ambassador to China and Governor of Utah would not catch on with the Republican primary electorate. Maybe it's the Mormon thing. No wait, the GOP is looking like it will nominate a Mormon who will say anything to any audience despite what he has said in the past. Romney was for gay rights, pro choice and an individual health care mandate in Massachusetts before be was against them when he started to run for President so that can't be it. Actually I don't know what the problem is when he says global warming is real and evolution is scientific fact and tells Mitt Romney he is part of the problem trying to divide people.

The good news is Stephen Colbert is looking at a run to be the President of the United States of South Carolina.

The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC is running an ad

It builds on the internet meme that says "I refuse to believe that corporations are people until Texas executes one."

John Lithgow narrating: If Mitt Romney really believes ‘corporations are people, my friend’ then Mitt Romney is a serial killer. He’s Mitt the Ripper.”

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Libertarians in Wilkes-Barre

This will be the biggest political event in Wilkes-Barre since the Green Party gathering in 2006.

From the inbox

Wilkes-Barre, PA—During its November state meeting in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania selected Wilkes-Barre to host the 2012 State Libertarian Convention. According to current LPPA state chair, Lou Jasikoff, convention dates have now been confirmed and will run from Friday April 20th through Sunday April 22nd.

The convention will be held at the Kirby Center for Performing Arts and the Best Western Genetti Hotel and Convention Center. A kick-off “Meet and Greet” for Gary Johnson, former two-term Governor of New Mexico, and other guests begins a festive Friday evening at the Kirby Center, ending with a rocking “Friday Night at the Oldies” disco party open to the general public. Michael Badnarik’s highly renowned Constitution Class will also be offered starting Friday night. Jasikoff added that in 2004 Mr. Badnarik was the Libertarian candidate for President.

Good times.

Luzerne Dems endorse

From the inbox:

At their January meeting this week, the Luzerne County Democratic Executive Committee voted to endorse Bob Casey for U.S. Senate, Patrick Murphy for Attorney General, Rob McCord for State Treasurer, and Eugene DePasquale for Auditor General, the Committee announced.

"We are incredibly proud to support Senator Casey, Congressman Murphy, Treasurer McCord, and Representative DePasquale in their bids for their respective offices. They have all demonstrated their commitment to standing up for middle and working class Pennsylvanians. We strongly endorse their candidacies because of their integrity and their dedication to social justice and equality, economic fairness and opportunity, and for government that works for everyone, not just the privileged few," said LCDC Public Relations director and 2nd District Chair Casey Evans.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

You Tube weekend

This video from the Newt Gingrich SuperPAC has got a lot of attention this week.

King of Bain- When Romney came to town

This ad from Newt is my favorite. Whenever I'm in Quebec or Paris I always use my high school french.

Je m'appelle Gort quarante-deux

Friday, January 13, 2012

Murphy leads Attorney General race

From the inbox:

Philadelphia, PA) – Iraq war veteran and former prosecutor Patrick Murphy holds a commanding lead over his two Democratic primary opponents. In a poll conducted this week by Global Strategy Group, Murphy leads his closest challenger Kathleen Kane, 36% to 15%. Dan McCaffery finishes a distant third with 8%. The regional breakdown is even more telling. Murphy dominates the Philadelphia region, one of the most expensive media markets in the country. In the vote-rich Philadelphia suburbs, Murphy earns a staggering 61% of the vote, with his opponents trailing dramatically (Kane at 8% and McCaffery at 5%). In Philadelphia, McCaffery’s home region, Murphy leads McCaffery by 32 points – 37% to 5%. Kane trails Murphy by 27 points in Philadelphia.

Update: Blogger wouldn't save or publish the rest of this post after I spent an hour on it. Arrgugh

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food stamps

Pennsylvania will deny food stamps to people with assets over $2000 or $3250 for people over 60 with some exemptions starting May 1st. Most assistance programs have asset limits so I don't think that this is out of line although the limits are certainly too low. The asset limits - $2,000 for those under 60 and $3,250 for those over - are based on figures set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1980 and never updated. If you have 100 grand in the bank you should try to along until you spend it down or find a new job but what the proper limit should be has to be raised.

Food stamps asset test condemned as 'idiotic, heartless'

Pa. plans asset test for recipients of food stamps

The thing that jumped out at me was reading the comments on the TL website. It was full of antidotes of Newport smoking welfare queens filling up their carts with steaks and lobsters on ACCESS day if they haven't already sold their allotment to some druggie for 50 cents on the dollar.

Some choice comments

the store was packed full of folks and I mean packed and their carts were full of those bags of frozen shrimp and those packs of spare ribs on the bone ....I asked the manager what the hell was going on ....he looked puzzled for a second until I waved around the store ...then he laughed and said that day was the day they reloaded the ACCESS cards

This young female, late teens-early twenties at the Wilkes Barre Walmart, had her cart STACKED, I'm telling you STACKED, with choice cut steaks, ribs, and other expensive cuts of meat that we normally wouldn't buy for ourselves because of the cost..

We should be tougher on unwed mothers. Gotta learn to keep the knees shut.

I call bullshit on this idiocy. I know people who have to use food stamps to feed their families and they are not buying prime rib and lobsters. Most of them work in low paying jobs and are not proud of having to rely on a government a program just to eat, but you got to feed the kids. Sure there are some bad actors who will abuse the system but most of them don't.

When I was growing up my family had to use food stamps from time to time because my father went from one shit job to another and was always being laid off. I cringed when my mother pulled out the food stamp book at the Ack-a-me to pay for the groceries and hoped that none of my classmates spotted us. I skipped the free lunch at school because of the stigma attached and the razzing that would ensue. It really sucks to be poor in this country, then and now.

I'm not the only one who grew up in such circumstances.

The Blogfather:

I know what it’s like to grow up on the then-economy brand substandard foodstuffs, government surplus cheese and powdered milk. Despite the rage that simmered inside of me, I had to endure the not-so-hushed comments when my mom produced her food stamp booklets at the check-out aisle.

Last month I was asked by Tiffany on her TV show about out of bounds comments. This one that is on the TL website would get deleted by me because it accuses a public official of a crime:

I've turned people in for foodstamp fraud, unemployment fraud, hell I even turned in a former boss directly to IRS and Dan Meuser for non-filing of personal and business taxes both federal and state for six years now. He is still very much in action and not so much as a letter of inquiry from either entity.

Different rules for different venues.

Young Dems meet tonight

Luzerne County Young Democrats are holding a meeting at Rodano's Public Square Wilkes-Barre tonight to discus the upcoming Pennsylvania Primary Election. Candidates welcome to attend. For more information contact Young Democrats President Thomas Shubilla at 570-239-3432 or thomshubilla@gmail.com

Luzerne County Young Democrats

Luzerne County Young Democrats Meeting on Facebook

To be fair and balanced the Luzerne County Young Republicans will have a meeting later this month on January 29th.

Luzerne County Young Republicans on Facebook

Yhe YR's have some candidates they want you to meet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


From the inbox:


Williamsport Pennsylvania- Congressman Tom Marino issued the following statement-

“Rick Santorum is a long time friend of my mine. He has been a tireless advocate for common-sense conservative values his entire career. He is one of the hardest working candidates that I have ever met; his showing in last week’s Iowa Caucus is evidence of that. I want to congratulate him on his strong showing.

We have a great slate of Republican presidential candidates this year, and I will enthusiastically work for our nominee. I will also work hard to ensure that the Republicans retain control of the House and win back the Senate.

I share Rick Santorum's vision of lower taxes, less spending, private sector job creation, a strong national defense, and traditional family values. I believe that Rick Santorum offers our best hope of recapturing the White House and returning this nation to its prior position of strength and greatness. I am proud to support his campaign for the presidency.”

This will not put Santorum over the top in New Hampshire but it doesn't hurt. Marino (R-PA10) is only the 2nd PA Congressman to endorse Rick joining Glenn Thompson (R-PA5). Our own Lou Barletta (R-PA11) has not endorsed Santorum or anyone else which is probably the smart move. Why get mixed up in somebody else's fight when you are in one of your own?

Marino maybe is buying into the sweater vest craze that Rick has inspired. I checked my wardrobe and I too own a sweater vest and yes it is brown.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Gene Stilp for Congress

Our friend McGruff was the first to pick up this story from the wires.

I like Gene Stilp who has been a pain in the ass of the state legislature over the 2005 pay raise and Luzerne County politicians. I met him at the reassesment rally in 2008 when he brought his big pig. He has run for office before losing a bid for Lt. Governor and State Represenative.

In a typical appeal for more participation he called for more candidates "We have a lot of talent in the 11th congressional district,” he said, “so I’m encouraging other people, Democrats, Republicans and even Independents, to go out an apply for this job. Have confidence in yourself and if you need a job and you’re very talented, apply for this job. Apply to the people of the 11th district.”

Barletta campaign manager Lance Strange can barely contain his glee: "Anyone who meets both the ballot access requirements and the minimum qualifications spelled out in the United States Constitution is able to seek the office of representative." Take that Bill Vinsko.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Quick Hits

I've been on a bit of a vacation since the the New Year so I've been slacking off on the blog but my fellow local scribes have been doing their usual great work.

So what's going on.

Penn State hired a new head football coach. New England Patriots Offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is the pick and some are upset that he doesn't have ties to the University. I think the whole idea is to bring in someone from the outside to clean house. CRV lists his positives and he is a Brown graduate like the last guy.

The new Luzerne County Government is having it's growing pains with Urban the Elder and Urban the Younger refusing to play nice with others. Surprise. The county council has to hire a permanent manager with the whole secrecy argument of the candidates identifies getting blown up by Jennifer in the TL. Do you really think that with this many people involved in the process they could keep a secret? I like the pick of Tom Pribula as the interim manager. I think he is the only person who ever resigned a Luzerne County job on principle when he wouldn't sign off on the last budget with fictitious revenues from land sales that never happened. Like PSU there seems to be a need to bring in an outsider not connected to the politics/power structure but if that doesn't work out Tom may be a good fallback. CFD has a report card and PB gives us a reporter's view.

The new Turkey Hill in Plains is almost complete. Mrs. G says " I wish it was still the ACME."

Saturday, January 07, 2012

You Tube weekend

The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday and if the polling can be believed Mitt Romney is headed to a blowout win and he is leading in South Carolina. This thing could be over before the Florida primary on January 31st. Rick Santorum doesn't have the time, organization or money to capitalize on his strong Iowa finish and Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry will help split the not Romney vote. Jon Huntsman is betting everything on New Hampshire but even if he does well he will have the same problems as Santorum going forward. Ron Paul probably has the money and devoted following to stick it out to the end so Romney has to very careful with him. If he pisses of Paul he may mount an independent bid so I expect Paul to get a vote on a few planks of the party platform which almost nobody reads or takes serious anymore. We will see if that will be enough to appease him.

Back to the YouTube thing.

Via The Dish I love satire

Our local canine community is reminding me why I could never vote for Romney.

Mitt Romney abused the family dog

He put the dog on the roof of the car! What kind of an asshole does something like that? The dog was literally scared shitless. And to top it off he later gave away the dog.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

PA Attorney General 2012 news

My inbox lit up today with news from 2 of the 3 Democratic Attorney General candidates. Philadelpia lawyer Dan McCaffery rolled out a bunch of endorsements and the other 2 sent out press releases trying to step on it.

Philadelphia, PA – Attorney General Candidate Dan McCaffery Holds Press Conference to Announce Major Campaign EndorsementsPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania,

January 5, 2012, - Pennsylvania Attorney General Candidate Dan McCaffery held a press conference today to formally announce his candidacy for Pennsylvania Attorney General. McCaffery was joined by many prominent government, business, labor, religious and civic leaders, including U.S. Congressman Bob Brady; IBEW Business Manager John J. Dougherty; .., among others.

Capitol Ideas: McCaffery ... was in Philly formally announcing his candidacy and -- in a fit of apparent gamesmanship -- did it with union capo John Dougherty and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady at his side....The three Democratic candidates are expected to appear at an event at the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Saturday.

Bob Brady helped pass the Republican gerrymander of Congressional Districts.

Former Congressman Patrick Murphy countered with an endorsement from my favorite future US Senate candidate.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz Endorses Patrick Murphy for AG
Schwartz: “Murphy is a proven leader and experienced prosecutor”

(Philadelphia, PA) – Today, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), endorsed Iraq war veteran and former prosecutor Patrick Murphy for Pennsylvania Attorney General. Schwartz, a prominent national voice on health care policy and women’s rights, and the highest-ranking woman elected official in Pennsylvania, praised Murphy for his tireless work on these issues.

“Patrick Murphy is a proven leader. He has fought to ensure women get equal pay at work. He has been a champion for children who need access to a doctor. He has cracked down on shady financial institutions that rob our seniors. Patrick will always stand up for working families and the values we all hold dear. His record makes that very clear. That’s what Pennsylvania needs in its next Attorney General,” Schwartz said.

“As a combat veteran, he showed his commitment to public service by putting his life on the line for our country. He’s demonstrated his ability as a prosecutor overseas and here at home. He has the experience and tenacity necessary to protect Pennsylvania families,” Schwartz added. “I’ve worked with Patrick, and together we’ve fought for our constituents and for all Pennsylvanians. I can tell you that Patrick has the character and integrity that we should expect from our law enforcement officials. That’s why I’m proud to support him for Attorney General.”

“Congresswoman Schwartz has helped shape the national debate on the most pressing issues facing our country. She has dedicated her career to ensuring that every man, woman and child in Pennsylvania has access to quality, affordable healthcare,” Murphy said. “Congresswoman Schwartz is a tireless advocate for fiscal responsibility and has fought to demand effectiveness in government. It’s been an honor to stand with her during these battles, and I’m equally honored to earn her endorsement for Attorney General.”

To top it off Lackawanna County's own Kathleen Kane announced that she has raised some big bucks.

Capitol Ideas again: Democratic Attorney General candidate Kathleen Granahan Kane writes this afternoon to let us know she finished 2011 with $2 million in her campaign account...It was not clear whether the $2 million came individual donations, was a PAC infusion or whether she has a wealthy Aunt Millie who loaned her the money.
Our friends at PoliticsPA hint the latter could be the case. They report that Kane has touted her ability to fund her own campaign. Her family owns a
trucking and logistics business that looks all kinds of fancy.

I didn't get Kane's press release which may have something to do with the shakeup of her campaign staff Kane dumps Randol as campaign manager. I'm sure Liz would have made sure that local bloggers would be in the loop. My friends at NEPArtisan have been on the Kane bandwagon highlighting her appearances on Hardball discussing the Sandusky scandal.