Thursday, May 31, 2012

RIP Charlie Lemmond 1929-2012

CV:  Former state Sen. Charles D. Lemmond Jr. has died.
The 82-year-old Republican from the Back Mountain area represented the 20th Senatorial District from 1985 through 2006. Lemmond was a former Luzerne County judge and first assistant district attorney.

The last time I had the pleasure of speaking with Senator Lemmond was at an event for Walter Griffith in 2009.  It would be accurate to say he stole the show. He wasn't planning to speak but the crowd demanded it.You could feel the respect and affection that people had for him.

Here are some of his legislative highlights:

1985 Won a special election to fill the vacancy left by outgoing Sen. FrankO'Connell Jr.

1986 Won his first general election against Democrat Joseph Bilbow

1989 Only Luzerne County lawmaker to vote against a law that imposed new restrictions on abortions in Pennsylvania

1991 Led Pennsylvania's redistricting effort after the 1990 census

1992 Helped write Pennsylvania's living-will law, called the Advance Directive for Health Care Act of 1992.

1995 Sponsored law to allow judges to consider an adult defendant's juvenile record in determining bail.

2001 Again helped redraw Pennsylvania's congressional districts after the 2000 census.

2004 Voted against Act 71, which expanded gambling in Pennsylvania by legalizing slot machines at 14 locations around the state.

I guess the best description of him is that he is a Rockefeller Republican. An endangered species these days.

He was instrumental in helping Lisa Baker succeed him.  Her statement:

"Charlie Lemmond was a positive force in my life in so many ways – friend, mentor, advisor, role model. As a former judge, prosecutor and legislator, he had incredible respect for the power and purpose of law, properly crafted and wisely applied.
"His 21 years as a well-respected state Senator were marked by his standard of integrity, his pursuit of justice, and his desire to do what was right for the people and the communities he served. He wanted to never disappoint those who trusted him and had confidence in his ability. He was willing to bridge party lines and political philosophies. Through his constant and active involvement in a wide range of community groups, Charlie touched many lives, gave a sense of direction and responsibility to numerous improvement projects and served as an inspiration to countless individuals,"

Congressman Lou Barletta:

“A native son of Hazleton, Charlie Lemmond was the consummate public servant. For more than 20 years, he served the people of the 20th Senatorial District of Pennsylvania with integrity and honor. Before that, he was a judge and a prosecutor, and he had a deep understanding of the law and its impacts. Charlie always offered wise counsel based on his long years of experience. He was quick to offer a kind word or friendly advice. He will be missed,” Rep. Barletta said. “My family and I would like to extend our condolences to his wife, Barbara; his children, Chuck, Judy, John, and David; and their families.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm a bit late

I didn't know that Donna Summer did a version of Don't Cry For Me Argentina. 

My favorite Donna Summer song is MacArthur Park. Feel love is the best Disco song.

Fracking threatens the beer supply

via Andrew:


Brooklynites: Don't Frack Our Beer!

 The brewmeister of Brooklyn Brewery says toxic fracking chemicals like methanol, benzene, and ethylene glycol (found in anti-freeze) could contaminate his beer by leaking into New York's water supply.




Young Dems to meet

First meeting of the 2012 General Election.
The Luzerne County Young Democrats will hold their Post-Primary Election at Rodano's located on Public Square on Thursday May 31, 2012 at 7:00 P.M.

Representative Phylis Mundy will be attending the meeting to discuss Pennsylvania's Delaware Loophole. Democratic Congressional Candidate Gene Stilp will be sponsoring the meeting and will also be speaking to the group.

The Young Democrats will be discussing the upcoming General Election, endorsing the Democratic slate for the General Election, and discussing agenda items to support such as the opposition to the Delaware loophole and Voter ID Laws. 

The Luzerne County Young Democrats encourage all registered Democrats age 18-35 to attend. Matt Cartwight will also be there.

They also have invited some LCYD alumni such as yours truly. I may just hobble down on my crutches. I heard that Gene Stilp is springing for the food so don't expect pulled pork as I'm sure that Pignelope would consider that cannibalism.

The Young Democrats of America will be meeting in Philadelphia June 29th-July 1st.That's a big feather in the cap of Herself and the PA Young Dems.

The dog is trying to kill me

He looks harmless. Just like our last guys Quincy is a big, affectionate and clumsy Golden. The problem is the clumsy. I won't give you all the gory details but I got tied up with him and now have a broken foot. According to CNN this sort of thing  is a common occurrence.

Note to the Rain Man, no beer was spilled in this encounter.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Yahoo email was hacked

Here we go again.

Sorry about that folks. Yesterday my inbox filled up with 150 Mail Daemon messages which alerted me that my email account had been compromised again. Thanks to everybody who emailed and called to let me know that something was up

This time it looks like the worm got a hold of my entire address book and sent out multiple spam messages. Again my apologies. So if you see a subject line from titled "hey" You know it wasn't sent by me.

I'm sure most of you figured that out and deleted it immediately but if you didn't and clicked on the link there is a possibility that your computer has been infected by maleware. I'm running all the protection software to combat this but it may not be enough.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Holiday Weekend


A message by Mean Old Man

I’m fit to be tied that the once sacred holiday of Memorial Day has been overtaken by the Commies as nothing but the first picnic day of the year!!!!  
Most of these twerps never even experienced time in the U.S. Armed Forces, let alone the joy of fighting in a war.  Damn!!!!  In my time Decoration Day (that’s what we used to call it) meant something more than putting stupid hot dogs and hamburgers on a grill.  It meant remembering all of the brave souls who fought the good fight and kept freedom alive in our country.  Not anymore!  Now all you see are nitwit Memorial Day store sales.  Every time I see some dumb used car salesman (they’re all either liars or dummies—most of the time both) pitching a “sale” in honor of our Vets I want to puke up my possum stew!!!!
I remember one Decoration Day when I was a kid.  Pops got our butts out of bed before dawn (he was a WWI vet) and Mom made sure we had on our Sunday best.  We went to the memorial plaque located in the cemetery where a group of military men were at attention.  A bit before “Taps” was played,  my one pal Lefty, who was always the instigator, lured me away to another part of the graveyard.  Then he whoops out two gloves and a baseball from behind a gravestone and coaxed me into playing a little catch.  Well, ol’ Lefty was no Sandy Koufax  and he soared one right towards ol’ Pops’ head  in the middle of TAPS being played.  Of course, this interrupted the entire ceremony and poor Pops was a little more than embarrassed.
I’ll always remember going home on that day because Pops gave me  a beating Joe Louis would be proud of!!!  After that he dragged my bloody carcass out into the woods to chop a few trees down to get wood for the stove.  Never understood that one, since we had a trusty coal stove in the house.  I can still recall the pain my head and the rest of my body as I wielded the ax and Pops sat on a stump drinking a large bottle of Ballantine and smoking Chesterfield after Chesterfield.   And I can still taste the blood seeping into my mouth as it ran down my face from my forehead.  It was brutal, degrading and embarrassing….and I loved it!!!!!  Because I learned a thing or two about patriotism that day and how important it is to respect the flag and the military thanks to my old man---what a guy.  I miss him a lot.  You’re probably wonderin’ what ever happened to ol’ Lefty.  Well, fact is, his dad wasn’t as nice a guy as Pops was.  None of us ever saw Lefty again.  Gummo thinks he may have hopped a train to Pittsburgh.  I hope he made it!!!
Today the celebrations are so prissy!!!  Granted, Me, Gummo, Birch and Tiny keep our backs straight and our guts sucked in on Memorial Day.  And we don’t pop open a Steg until Old Glory is saluted!!!!   The way it should be!!!!!
So all you panty wastes have a good Memorial Day.  Maybe you can grill some soy burgers on your 10 thousand dollar grill.  As for me, I’ll be grillin’ some good ol’ groundhog patties and some baked potatoes on  my portable old fashioned charcoal grill and eat them on some of Thelma Jeans champion biscuits!!!   Later I’ll head down to the Legion with the boys  and  hoist a few beers and smoke a few Lucky’s (the cigarette that went to war) In honor of all the fallen----including my old friend Lefty!!!  That’s my idea of a holiday.
I hate you all!!!!!!!!!

A Thousand Words

Read the details.

Blaming teachers is not an education policy

From the inbox:

Philadelphia, PA – While visiting Bluford Charter School in Philadelphia, Mitt Romney continued to avoid offering innovative ideas for education reform, instead spending his time blaming teachers and pushing a proposal that would funnel funds from public education to private schools.  Education reform needs a collaborative approach that focuses on student achievement by bringing together students, teachers, parents and the community.

“Romney hasn’t offered any ideas that would help kids succeed in the classroom.” Said Philadelphia AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz McElroy. “Blaming teachers is not an education policy.”

“At a time when school budgets have been cut to the bone, Mitt Romney wants to take money out of our neighborhood public schools to spend on vouchers, private schools, charters and other gimmicks. Our schools need equitable and stable funding to improve student outcomes. They need collaboration, and not conflict, between teachers, parents and community leaders to improve achievement.”  Said Jerry T. Jordan, President, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Mitt Romney has a history of making statements on education that are detached from the reality that our students, teachers and parents are actually facing.

Romney: “The Effort To Reduce Classroom Size May Actually Hurt Education More Than It Helps.” (No Apology, Pg. 216)
Reality: At Romney’s prestigious private school Cranbrook the average class size is 14 (Cranbrook Website), while the Pennsylvania public school system is 22.4 (National Center for Education Statistics).

Romney: “We don’t need to spend more on education. We need to spend it more wisely.”(Boston Globe, 10/12/94)
Reality: As governor, Romney used budgeting gimmicks that led to the layoffs Of 14,500 Teachers, Police Officers, Librarians, And Others. (Boston Globe, 1/09).  In addition public school teachers in the United States spent more than $1.33 billion ($356 per teacher) out of pocket on school supplies and instructional materials in the 2009-2010 school year. (The 2010 NSSEA Retail Market Awareness Study).

Romney: “My best advice is find a great institution of higher learning, find one that has the right price, and shop around.” (Townhall Meeting, 3/12)
Reality: By the end of Mitt Romney’s tenure as Governor of Massachusetts, Community Colleges Costs were “59% Higher Than National Average” and Public Four Year Colleges Were 34% Higher. (MassINC, Paying for College, 4/06)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pennsylvania polling

In the Presidential race Republican leaning polling outfit Rasmussen Reports has President Obama leading Mitt Romney 47%-41% and the Democratic leaning pollster Public Policy Polling has a similar result with Obama topping Romney 50%-42%. The PPP crosstabs are interesting with the President's favorables about even but Romney is way underwater with 51% unfavorable to just 37% favorable. Governor Tom Corbett is also not well thought of with 50% disapproving of his job performance vs. 37% in favor.

In the Senate race Bob Casey has a 49% to 33%  lead over Bob Smith.  Smith and Steve Welch attacked each other for voting for Democrats in the past during the primary that probably left a bad taste in the mouth of Welch supporters and the state GOP. Smith's name recognition went up but so did his unfavorables.The more people get to know him the less they like him.

Democratic Attorney General candidate Kathleen Kane has the early lead over David Freed 42%-33% with 25% undecided. The hard fought primary with Patrick Murphy helped her get her name out there and Murphy's endorsement helps to close the the ranks of Democrats.Patrick is always a class act.

“Primaries are never easy. But it’s important to remember that this was a family fight. Now that it’s over, we must come together and rally behind our nominee. That’s why I am endorsing Kathleen Kane for Attorney General. Because in the end, Kathleen is Pennsylvania’s best choice for Attorney General,” Murphy said.

The contests for Auditor General and Treasurer are a wash at this point.

In other political news Nancy Pelosi  will be in town for a wedding and will make a side trip to help out 17th CD Democratic nominee Matt Cartwright raise money at a 10:30 a.m. lunch June 9 at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel in Scranton. That's early for this nocturnal blogger and a bit expensive.

The Republicans are always looking for some sort of  boogeyman and the soft spoken Grandmother from Sodom on the San Andreas fits the bill. Lately Chicago style  Democrats (corrupt)has replaced San Francisco Democrats (gay) in their lexicon.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring Break

Turned into Spring Cleaning. I took a few days off from work and the blog to deal with Mrs. G's Honey Do list. We have an enclosed porch that was a present from her Dad when we went on vacation a few years ago and like most enclosed porches it has turned into a junk room. So we spent the last 2 days ripping it apart and cleaning everything of dirt and dog hair.

So I missed a few political stories this week but this is traditionally the slow season for politics although with the 24 hour news cycle that may have changed. We will be at the Metro Bar & Grill tomorrow and I'm thinking of doing an event there in June for bloggers, politicians and friends. Call it Hit the Deck. Maybe a big pink pig may show up.

I should be back in action next week. Quincy got into the spirit by shredding a discarded box.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sell the Station

County manager: Sell Market Street Square complex

Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton is proposing a new course of action for the train station at the Market Street Square complex in Wilkes-Barre.

On Tuesday, Lawton said he does not support a prior decision to spend $2 million renovating the station and asked the county redevelopment authority to sell the 5 acres of land, train station and its properties in the complex.

Why the county bought this pile of junk from Thom Greco for $5.8 million was a mystery to me and many others, the Bond Brothers made that deal.
In 2010, Greco was sentenced to two years probation for failing to tell federal agents he was the victim of a shakedown by former county Commissioner Greg Skrepenak.
Greco said Skrepenak refused to pay a bill of more than $10,000 for televisions supplied to a sports bar run by Skrepenak's father, and prosecutors said the televisions were a reward for helping with the purchase of the train station complex.

Lawton has decided not to piss away more money on a property that is a total mess which is a good call. The idea that a visitors center could be built or the miracle of restored train service is not in the cards. The main building has been neglected for so long it is probably in similar  shape as the Hotel Sterling. Steve Urban thinks it's all about him   
"He is retaliating against me personally because I'm a supporter of the project," said Urban, who did not attend the meeting. "Anything we started he wants to destroy."

I always liked Steve when he was the minority commissioner willing to to say NO to stupid spending but he seems  to go off the rails on this one.

Luzerne County is broke, it is less than broke with almost $500 million in debt obligations so spending on new projects is out out the question.




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Watching the Phillies in the dentist chair

The way this season has gone so far it seemed appropriate that  I got to watch the Phillie's beat the Astro's in an uncomfortable way. Cliff Lee cruised through 8 innings giving up just 1 run with the usual anemic offense only producing 3 runs. Top of the ninth with a 3-1 lead then Murphy's law kicked in. Chad Qualles was brought in to close it because Paplebon was not available. He gave up 2 runs with some help when Hunter Pence who dropped a ball on the exchange from glove to hand let the tying run in. So it went into extra's.

At this point  Dr. Edwards stopped screwing  around with my teeth and watched the ball game with me. When I pointed out that the next pitcher was a rookie making his 1st Major League appearance she said " he  must be shitting his pants." Jake Diekman did well. He got the last out in the 9th and then put down the visiting team 1-2-3 in the 10th. Then Hunter Pence went from goat to hero when he hit a Hone Run  to win the game in the bottom of the 10th.

It's a gas

 From Scott:

Speaker to talk about W. Wyoming Gas Compression Station

Matt Walker from the Clean Air Council will give a presentation on health issues regarding the proposed UGI Compressor Station and pipelines on Wednesday, May 23, at p.m. at the West Wyoming Borough Building on 464 West 8th St. The Residents are urged to attend.
Matt will discuss the following topics:

Air Pollutants from Compressor Stations are Linked with Health Issues
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Nitrous Oxides (NOx), Formaldehyde, Methane
5 Dud Drilling Blowouts in Dallas spewing thousands of gallons of Bentonite Clay, a cancer causing carcinogen into wetlands might occur here as well.

Other Concerns
Noise: The engines at the station run constantly and can be very loud, especially when releasing pressurized natural gas periodically to change equipment
Odor: The pollutants emitted from engines have the potential to create strong and unpleasant odors
Visible emissions: Stations have the potential to emit dark plumes as a result of malfunctioning equipment

Also, Matt will discuss the new DEP regulations to prevent public comment and file reviews what will take away the people's rights to speak out against the industrialization of our community.

Scollo calls for civility

This dropped into my inbox last week.I agree that the rhetoric needs to be toned downed.

I was shocked to read today that the U.S. Capitol Police have had to assign additional security to protect Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill after Scott Boston, a Tea Party activist, said:

"We have to kill the Claire Bear, ladies and gentlemen."

This is totally unacceptable and horrific language.

Free speech is at the core of liberty, but threats of violence--particularly against women--are completely unacceptable. It's this type of rhetoric that many believe lead to the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona just last

Making matters worse, Senator McCaskill’s Tea Party opponent, Sarah Steelman, defended Mr. Boston, and her campaign’s paid spokesperson applauded his statement. Sickening.

I also saw that my opponent, Congressman Tom Marino, just voted to support the Republican House bill to re-authorize the Violence Against Women's Act.

That's why I am asking Congressman Marino to join me in denouncing in the strongest possible language the use of violent language by this Missouri Tea Party activist and the approval of that language by Claire's opponent's campaign.

I will be reaching out to the Congressman shortly in the hopes of coordinating a joint statement.

Thank you,
Phil Scollo

8 years of Another Monkey

Spring must be the time to start a blog. The Yonk just marked his 6th blogoversary and I just went past7 but DB Echo has been tapping away for 8 years now at Another Monkey, almost as long as the Blogfather. Harold occasionally writes about politics and invited me to help him build NEPA Blogs in the early stages which has become an online directory of local bloggers of all stripes. I don't post over there much anymore because he and Michelle usually post a link to a new blog that I spot before I get the chance to list it. They have built it into 'thee" place for information about the local blogosphere including a regular TV gig on WBRE.Cool.

My favorite features of Another Monkey are the astronomy posts and his Stained Glass Window project.

And we all know he has become a world renowned expert on Headless Rabbits.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Comcast pay more get less

They did it again. Things have been stable since 2010 when Comcast upgraded their system requiring customers to get a box to hook up that was a bit of a pain. I was actually pleased with the upgrade because we got many more channels including some (not all) of the one's that had been previously been deleted. About 2 weeks ago Comcast raised the price again but worse some of the channels we have come to enjoy are no longer available without upgrading our service. So much for Sundance, Fox movie Channel and IFC unless we pay more.

I was looking around the Comcast website when an employee started chatting with me. 

Chris: Hi, I'm a live Comcast product specialist. Would you like my help checking out?
Chris: Just type your question below.
You: Why have Sundance, Fox Movies and IFC been taken away?
Chris: All technical issues with Comcast Service are handled by our Technical Support Chat Agents. I can guide you through the path of connecting to this group.
Chris: Are you ok with me sending you to the appropriate webpage to connect to that group?
You: It's not a technical issue. The channels are no longer available on Digital Starter
Chris: Sundance nd IFC is included in our Digital Preferred plan. While, Fox Movie is on our Digital Premier plan.
You: Those channles were on my Digital starter until about 2 weeks ago
Chris: Thank you for being a current Comcast customer. Customer service will be able to assist you with the help you need. You can reach our Customer Service team by calling 1-800-comcast (1-800-266-2278).
You: I'm getting a Dish
Chris: I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I can provide you with our Customer Service team's number to help you or discuss alternative options. Please don't hesitate to initiate contact and call them at 1-800-Comcast (1-800-266-2278). They will be able to pull up your account and process the changes just for you.
Chris: Our Customer Service team is available Monday through Saturday, 8 AM to 7 PM. Please call them at your convenience.
You: I'm blogging about this at Pass it along to your PR people
Chris: My apologies for such change in your programming.
Chris: I recommend calling our Customer Service Team. They've got all your account information and they also have the expertise to better assist you. That number is 1-800-comcast (1-800-266-2278).
Chris: Thank you for your time! Are there any other questions I can answer for you?
Chris: How are things coming along?
You: No. I'm just upset that channels that I enjoy are no longer available unless I pay more.
Chris: I understand, please call our Customer Service team at your convenience.
Chris: Do you have any other questions I can answer for you?
You: What's the point? If I want those channels back I have to pay more.
Chris: I suggest that you call our Customer Service team so they can offer you options in getting back the channels.
You: Thanks Chris, get some sleep.
Chris: You're welcome, that's so sweet of you.
Chris: I will in a bit. Take care.
Chris: Thank you for visiting Comcast today.
Chris: Have a great evening.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kathy Kane out as Luzerne County Dem Chair

The Valley Scanner reports that Wilkes-Barre Controller and former city council member then chair Kathy Kane calls it quits:

In a letter dated April 25, Kathy Kane resigned as chairman of the Luzerne County Democratic Committee effective May 25, 2012.

According to the letter, Kane is stepping down to "run for an office" in June. What office? Your guess is as good as ours. With Kane's recent track record of supporting losing candidates, her supporters will be staying away in droves.

In 2013 the county offices that are up is 5 seats on the county council and Controller. Look out Walter.

 The county Democratic party has had rough time of it the last few years with all the Democratic office holders going to jail. In 2007 under the leadership of Mark Buffalino the Dem's made a clean sweep of the county row offices but in 2009 they lost 2 out of 3 after he left to run for Judge and lost . In 2011 they only won 6 of the 11 Luzerne County Council despite an overwhelming registration edge and Republican Stephanie Salavantis knocked off Jackie Mo in the DA's race.

In this past election Kane presided over a meeting of the county executive committee that turned into a farce when Tim Holden was endorsed for Congress over Matt Cartwright in the 17th CD race.The headline out of the meeting was that Holden  was that the Luzerne  County Democratic Committee unanimously endorsed Tim Holden but that was not was not the case. A parliamentary maneuver changed the result as 2nd District Chair Casey Evans explained. In the primary election Cartwright won Luzerne County by almost 3 to 1.

In the run up to the election there was some controversy when there was a dispute about what event was scheduled first. 120th State Rep Phyllis Mundy (my 3rd favorite) hosted an event for Matt Cartwright in West Pittston on the same night that Kane had a rally for Luzerne County Dem's at the Ramada in Wilkes-Barre. Phyllis assured me that she didn't know about the county committee meet up or she would have had it on another day. 

PoliticsPA had a recap of the 17th CD race and  I would add that Cartwright had a better ground game. In Luzerne County Cartwright had an office in Wilkes-Barre that was buzzing with people working the phones and the Holden "HQ" was an empty store front with some signs in the windows. Before the election I was called by 2 volunteers from Cartwright but only  a robo call for Holden paid for by the AFL-CIO. On election day I got a remember to vote call from the Cartwright camp because they identified me as a supporter. Great job Shane!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Barletta attempts snark, fails

Congressman Lou Barletta put out a press release on Tuesday that jumped on the fetus White House tour story that is flying around the right wing blogs.

In a tongue in cheek statement almost worthy of a snarky blogger he said:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, PA-11, congratulated the White House of President Obama – who supports partial-birth abortions and voted against born-alive failed abortion infant protection legislation on the grounds that a fetus is not a viable life – for finally recognizing that life begins at conception.
Tuesday, it was reported that the White House is now asking pregnant mothers to identify their unborn babies when requesting tours of the president’s house.
In an e-mail to offices, the White House stated, “Crazy as it may sound, you MUST include the baby in the overall count of guests in the tour.” [Emphasis original to e-mail.]
The e-mail gives details on how to include the unborn child’s first name (“Baby”), birthday (even though the baby has not yet been born), gender, and social security number.
“The White House of President Obama – who voted against bills protecting unborn children from the horror of abortion – enacted a policy identifying babies still in the womb when they come to visit the White House. If an unborn child is considered alive for the purposes of a White House tour, clearly an unborn child should be considered alive when pro-life legislation is considered,” Rep. Barletta said.
“I’d like to commend President Obama for finally acknowledging that life begins at conception.”

Surprisingly the details were ignored  by Barletta's press outfit, they are usually better than that. As he says in the first line, “it was reported” that this happened. He’s not actually saying it did. The Secret Service says Pregnant women are not required to count their fetuses as full human beings when registering for White House tours but it would help expecting parents already signed up for a tour to be able to bring a newborn.
 The White House has thousands of visitors every day and that people sign up for tours months in advance, often canceling and rescheduling. By having a placeholder ready for a baby-to-be, it prevents delays when people might otherwise show up for the tour with a child not previously listed.
"This policy was implemented so if you want to bring your children on a tour, we can account for them."

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Bloggers are reluctant and accidental Committeemen

In the 2010 primary election DB Echo of Another Monkey was elected as a Luzerne County Democratic Committeeman from Nanticoke. By his own admission he was "written in by a friend as a joke and won."  To his credit he has taken his responsibilities as an officer of the party seriously going to as many meetings that he can make. He even keeps local Bloggers informed of the activities of the outfit even if the Chair is apprehensive about letting Bloggers know what is going on.

Now the Blogfather may become a Republican Committeeman in Wilkes-Barre.He got a vote or 2 but so did someone else.

GOP committee races to be decided

Most, if not all, ties occurred because no candidates filed paperwork to get their names on the ballot. Voters wrote in names on the electronic voting machines, prompting multiple people to receive the same number of votes, in some cases one vote each....The election office will choose winners using numbered balls shaken in a container. Balls will be picked for candidates who don’t appear.

He looked at mounting a serious campaign after being encouraged  but got sidetracked because of the loss of a family member. He has never been high on the local Republican Party saying  I took my unexpected call to join the local GOP scrum as the equivalent of being General George Armstrong Custer's replacement bugler during that final gallop into history. Sad, but blatantly honest on my part. 

If he does win the ping pong ball selection and follows through he will be as welcomed at a 6th District Republican Committee meeting like ants at a picnic. 

A few years ago some people wanted me to run for Democratic Committeeman in my little corner of Plains Twp. to replace  the invisible man, a guy that lives a block away but never met. I took a pass because of my work schedule and blogging activities. I'm glad I did because now my committee guy is Thom Shibula .He also was elected to the state committee and will be a delegate to the DNC in Charlotte. Thom does the work of an old fashion  local precinct captain like dropping off yard signs at my house. I haven't heard if he could deliver a ton of coal.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Kane leads Attonery General's race

PoliticsPA reports that Kathleen Kane is up big over David Freed in the PA AG race according to an internal poll from the Kane campaign.
Kathleen Kane has emerged from her contested primary with momentum, a poll conducted by her campaign shows. She leads Republican Dave Freed 48 percent to 27 percent.

The hard fought primary with Patrick Murphy definitely raised her name ID and it shows in this poll. I don't discount internal polls like many do because if the polling outfit get's it wrong they lose credibility and aren't likely to get hired again. I think that primary campaigns help the eventual winner unless they get out of hand like what happened in the 2008 10th CD Republican primary contest. Governor Tom Cabot and the PA GOP driving out John Rafferty may have hurt Freed. I'm not ready to declare victory for Kane unlike my friend from NEPartsan  "Kane, I think, is a winner.  I’ll even call it now." I thought that Murphy would win the primary easy, shows what I know. Campaigns matter and there is long way to go. 

David Freed put out a web video that I picked up from his Facebook page. It's titled "I Represent the Commonwealth."

He starts out giving his qualifications saying he is the only  elected prosecutor in the race who has been efficient running his office. Then he gives the crowd of Republicans some red meat  bringing up the death penalty. At 2:20 in the video he says " the drug dealers will not know what hit them when we get into the Attorney General's office." I'm not sure what to make of that statement. Is he admitting that all t he last  Republican Attorney General's have failed in the War on Drugs. More and more  people have been locked up over drug offenses over the last 50 years and yet the poison is more available than ever before. That flies in the face of his statement that we should be smart on crime and should be talking about how to keep people out of jail. How many politicians have promised to lock up all the drug dealers? That's worked out well. Such claptrap. Then he rails against unconstitutional power grabs by the Federal Government like Obamcare  and "unconstitutional" EPA regulations. "We are going to stand up to the Federal Government.." That should work out, after you get sick because your air and water are polluted you won't be able to get health care. Does this guy want to be a prosecutor or a legislator? 


Check out his eyes.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Kentucky Derby is all about the hats

The 2 young ladies above were in the spirit tonight at Marks Pub for the Kentucky Derby. A big cheer went up when I'll Have Another  won the race.

History was made when DB Echo was elected to the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society as the Senator from Nanticoke. Pope George Ringo administered the oath of office.

Gary Johnson for President

Libertarians Tap Johnson as Presidential Candidate
Judge James P. Gray picked for Vice-Presidential slot

Wilkes-Barre, PAAt its National Convention this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Libertarian Party nominated former two-term Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson as its Presidential candidate and California Judge James P. Gray as his Vice-Presidential running mate according to Lou Jasikoff, delegate at the convention and former Chair of the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party.

A successful businessman, Johnson first ran for office in 1994, when he beat all odds and was elected as Republican Governor of heavily Democratic New Mexico. Prior to his election, Johnson built one of the state's largest construction companies, amassing over 1000 employees. As Governor he cut taxes fourteen times, while never raising them. He vetoed over 750 bills, with a mere two vetoes being overridden, and upon his departure New Mexico was one of only four states in the country to have achieved a balanced budget.

Johnson retired from public office in 2003 after being term-limited to eight years. He is an avid skier, adventurer, and bicyclist and has climbed the highest peak on four of the seven continents, including a successful ascent of Mount Everest. He has promised to submit to Congress a balanced federal budget in 2013, necessitating an unprecedented year-over-year reduction in federal outlays.

Judge James P. Gray is a highly regarded jurist who served on California's Orange County Superior Court from 1989 to 2010. In 2009, the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County named its annual “Judge of the Year” award after Judge Gray.

Jasikoff beamed, “The Libertarian Party has arrived not only on the national scene but also in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Locally the Libertarian Party will be running candidates in state assembly races where there is currently only one candidate on the ballot, and in addition, Betsy Summers will be the Libertarian candidate for State Auditor. We must have competition in politics and the Libertarian Party will provide viable choices to voters in Pennsylvania as well as throughout the Union.”

YouTube Weekend

42 years after Kent State

Nixon Rising  Kent State

Kentucky Derby

The 15th annual get together of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society to watch the Kentucky Derby  is scheduled for 5PM today at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre.

The weather people are saying it will get into the 80's today so a good way to cool off after you get your yard work done is to grab a cold beer at a neighborhood bar that has great burgers.

All are welcome

Mundy says Toohil plagiarized her bill

In 2009 State Rep Phyllis Mundy (D-120th) wrote a bill to address some of the problems in the juvenile justice system in response to the Juvie Brother's scandal.  It passed the State House but it died in the Republican controlled Senate. In 2011 Tarah Toohil ((R-116th) introduced a similar bill. It passed the House and the Senate.

TL: “It’s not word for word, but it’s my bill. It’s my idea and pretty much my language,” Mundy said. Mundy made a comment about Toohil’s legislation on the House floor, saying “imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.”

Of course Toohil denies that she was cheating like some kid on a high school term paper  saying she modeled her legislation on recommendations of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, which is why it’s similar. She said she didn’t base her bill on Mundy’s...“I don’t care who gets it done, I just want it to get done,” she said, adding that Mundy should receive credit for her work on juvenile justice issues.

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Delaware loophole lives

HB2150 has been advertized as closing the infamous "Delaware Loophole" in exchange for lower corporate tax rates. Many people say it won't close the loophole while providing a big tax break to corporations.

How Loopholes Work

One common way corporations avoid taxes is by conducting transactions between their subsidiaries. Using an array of “tax planning” techniques, companies can shift profits from one subsidiary to another or into or out of a particular state – with no real economic purpose other than tax avoidance.
The best-known strategy is the infamous “Delaware loophole,” of which the Toys “R” Us Geoffrey Giraffe case is the most widely known example. Toys “R” Us set up a company[1] in Delaware to hold the trademark for the Geoffrey Giraffe logo. The holding company charges Toys “R” Us retail stores across the country a royalty to use the trademark. The retail stores deduct this payment to the holding company as a business expense, reducing their income in other states and, in turn, their taxes. This is legal, even though there is no need for a company to sell the use of a trademark to itself – and no reason to grant an expense deduction. Because royalty income is not taxed in Delaware, the Geoffrey holding company (owned by Toys “R” Us) gets to keep the money tax free.

Phyllis is Phuming

HARRISBURG, May 2State Rep. Phyllis Mundy voted against a $3.3 billion corporate-tax-cut bill that passed the state House today, noting that it would result in devastating budget cuts and fails to make big corporations pay their fair share of taxes in Pennsylvania.

"Giving large-multi-state companies a massive, multi-billion-dollar tax break and allowing them to continue to use accounting schemes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes is the definition of corporate welfare.”...
Beyond the bill’s failure to close corporate loopholes, it also provides multiple corporate tax cuts. Mundy said the House Democrats tried to offer amendments to the bill that would have eliminated property taxes for Pennsylvania homeowners but Republicans used a procedural maneuver to block those amendments from being considered.

The end result, Mundy said, is a bad bill for Pennsylvania taxpayers.

"This bill gives corporations new ways to avoid paying their fair share, while also giving them a massive tax cut," Mundy said. "And, worst of all, it would place an even greater tax burden on everyday hard-working citizens who will be left holding the bag."

According to the TL Mundy was joined by Eddie Day Pashinski in voting against the bill. Predictably Republicans Karen Boback and Tarah Toohil favored it. Mike Carroll, and Jerry Mullery  were among 23 Democrats who joined 106 Republicans to vote in favor of the bill.

The bill blows such a big hole in the state's finances that even Dept of Revenue Secretary Dan Mueser and Governor Tom Cabot have reservations. Hopefully it will die in the State Senate.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Looking to the fall: State Rep 119th District

This is a rematch between  freshman state rep Gerald Mullery  and Republican Rick Arnold . In 2010 this was an open seat because John Yudichak decided to run for State Senator. Mullery won a 3 way Democratic primary snagging 50% of the vote. In the fall Mullery topped the poll with 8631 votes 52% to Arnold's 7274 44% with Libertarian Brian Bergman getting 741 4%.

Both Rick and Gerry made it to last Blogfest which has become the premier local political event of the election season.

The latest campaign finance report shows that Mullery has $8636 cash on hand but oddly I can't find a report for Arnold for 2012 or 2011. Nothing unusual jumps out on Mullery's reports. He raised money from some unions and most of his individual donors live in his district. Looking at the expenditures he doesn't use his campaign like a personal ATM paying for things like lunch, gasoline, dry cleaning and clothing like some other candidates.

Another oddity is that Mullery's campaign website is blank.

Mullery railed against the latest gerrymander like the one before it and offered a solution.

CV: Mullery offered amendments to the proposed maps that would keep the greater Hazleton area, Luzerne County’s South Valley region, the Mountain Top communities, the Five Mountain region and greater Wilkes-Barre together in their respective legislative districts.
He said splitting them is “unnecessary” and he doesn’t believe the new plans for state maps meet the requirements mandated by the state constitution

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Looking to the fall: State Rep 116th District

In 2010 Tarah Toohil scored one of the biggest upsets of the year by defeating state house Democratic Majority Leader Todd Eachus. Although I'm a Democrat I was glad to see the back of Eachus.

 He lost me when I got a piece of official mail touting the proposed Hazleton Cargo Airport and I didn't even live in his district. He teamed up with convicted criminals Greg Skrepnak and Robert Powell and others wanting to divert the slots money to a fantasy airport. He later backed off his support for the project.Then it came out that he was flying around on Powell's private jet and that was the end of him.

Tarah Toohil was a Democrat that wanted to run against Eachus in the primary but hit a brick wall so she filed as a Republican and won. Another example that challengers don't win races but incumbents lose them.

Her opponent is Ransom Young, a farmer who has been a member of the Butler Township Board of Supervisors for 28 years.

Reading their latest campaign finance reports we learn that Ransom hasn't raised any money so far but that will change. Toohil has about $6400 cash on hand. There are few things on Toohil's report that I found curious. Most of the contributors don't live in the district and she got some help from her friends.


FRIENDS OF KAREN BOBARK (typo on website)



Looking at the expenditures.

The usual expenses are listed for office supplies, postage, internet and phone service, etc. .There are some things that are different.. 20 charges to the campaign totaling over $700 for gasoline, small checks for lunch and a few meals in DC at The MATCH BOX and BELGA CAFE. What PA interest is she pushing in Washington?

4 bills for dry cleaning totaling. $68.10. Tarah always looks sharp.

Update: Those numbers were from the 2012 report. The 2011 filing lists more lunch tabs, $440 for gas, $57 for dry cleaning and $721 for formal wear from Wedding Bells on 11/21/11. I guess she wanted to look good for Pennsylvania Society get together in New York that her campaign picked up the tab for her hotel room. She looks fabulous in the last picture on the slideshow of this article.


Puttin' on the ritz at the Academy Ball


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Looking to the fall: State Rep 120th District

I was going to a roundup of the 3 competitive Luzerne County state rep races in one post but decided to address them individually. Since I started blogging I think I have given more ink (ether, pixels) to state rep races than any other local blogger and maybe as much space as the local papers.I always cover the underdogs in these races.

At a rally that  Phyllis Mundy recently hosted for him our next likely Congressman Matt Cartwright said ""Phyllis is a giant in the Democratic Party." So that raises the question can Republican Aaron Kaufer be a giant killer? Probably not but that is why we have elections.

In the recent primary election with an abysmal turnout Mundy got 4210 votes to Kaufer's 2917. In the 2010 primary she gathered 5400 to Republican West Pittston mayor Bill Goldsworthy 3223.The General Election results returned Phylis to Harrisburg  in the very Republican/Tea Party year of  2010 winning a solid 53% 10,153, to Goldsworthy's 6154 32% with Libertarian Tim Mullen mounting a valiant effort finishing with 2858 15%.

Looking at the campaign finance reports on the PA Department of State Mundy is way out in front with $48,000 cash on hand to Kaufer's $3300. Mundy raised $21K since the beginning of the year adding to the balance carried over. Kaufer snagged $6375in contributions  which is a surprise. One item on Kaufer's CFR that piqued my interest was this in-kind contribution from Sheldon Kaufer of $6000. It is described as Office rent for Jan., Feb.,March 2012. Who get's 2 grand a month for office space around here?

I like Aaron and you all know that Phyllis is one of my top 5 legislators.

Below are a few challengers that Phyllis has vanquished in the past and may in the future

L to R

Bill James, Aaron Kaufer, Rick Arnold ( another district), Tim Mullen, Bill Goldsworthy, John Cordora