Friday, June 29, 2012

What if Congress mandated that you buy a gun?

Ezra Klein: Congress has forced Americans to buy guns. It’s in the Militia Acts of 1792.

I'm sure that would be fine with my Tea party friends today.

Incidentally, that’s not the only time an early congress mandated that Americans purchase privately sold products:
 In 1790, the very first Congress—which incidentally included 20 framers—passed a law that included a mandate: namely, a requirement that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. This law was then signed by another framer: President George Washington. That’s right, the father of our country had no difficulty imposing a health insurance mandate

Steve Benen:   I suppose Republicans might argue that George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson didn't understand what the Founding Fathers wanted

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SCOTUS upholds ACA

East Room
12:15 P.M. EDT
     THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon.  Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act -- the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago.  In doing so, they've reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America -- in the wealthiest nation on Earth – no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin. 
I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost.  That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington.  But that discussion completely misses the point.  Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.
And because this law has a direct impact on so many Americans, I want to take this opportunity to talk about exactly what it means for you. 
First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance -- this law will only make it more secure and more affordable.  Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive.  They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.  They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.  They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason.  They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms -- a provision that's already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance.  And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care. 
There’s more.  Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent's health care plans -- a provision that's already helped 6 million young Americans.  And because of the Affordable Care Act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs -- a discount that's already saved more than 5 million seniors on Medicare about $600 each.
All of this is happening because of the Affordable Care Act. These provisions provide common-sense protections for middle class families, and they enjoy broad popular support.  And thanks to today’s decision, all of these benefits and protections will continue for Americans who already have health insurance.   
Now, if you’re one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from.  Each state will take the lead in designing their own menu of options, and if states can come up with even better ways of covering more people at the same quality and cost, this law allows them to do that, too.  And I’ve asked Congress to help speed up that process, and give states this flexibility in year one. 
Once states set up these health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against any American with a preexisting health condition.  They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman.  They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy. If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to get quality, affordable health care as everyone else.  And if you can’t afford the premiums, you'll receive a credit that helps pay for it. 
Today, the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance.  This is important for two reasons. 
First, when uninsured people who can afford coverage get sick, and show up at the emergency room for care, the rest of us end up paying for their care in the form of higher premiums. 
And second, if you ask insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions, but don’t require people who can afford it to buy their own insurance, some folks might wait until they’re sick to buy the care they need -- which would also drive up everybody else’s premiums.
That’s why, even though I knew it wouldn’t be politically popular, and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so.  In fact, this idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for President.
Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive.  I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared.  And I know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focused on what it means politically. 
Well, it should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because it was good politics.  I did it because I believed it was good for the country.  I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.
There’s a framed letter that hangs in my office right now.  It was sent to me during the health care debate by a woman named Natoma Canfield.  For years and years, Natoma did everything right.  She bought health insurance.  She paid her premiums on time.  But 18 years ago, Natoma was diagnosed with cancer.  And even though she’d been cancer-free for more than a decade, her insurance company kept jacking up her rates, year after year.  And despite her desire to keep her coverage -- despite her fears that she would get sick again -- she had to surrender her health insurance, and was forced to hang her fortunes on chance. 
I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law.  It reminded me of all the Americans, all across the country, who have had to worry not only about getting sick, but about the cost of getting well. 
Natoma is well today.  And because of this law, there are other Americans -- other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers -- who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance.  These are the Americans for whom we passed this law. 
The highest Court in the land has now spoken.  We will continue to implement this law.  And we'll work together to improve on it where we can.  But what we won’t do -- what the country can’t afford to do -- is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were. 
With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward -- to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law.  And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time:  putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead. 
But today, I’m as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, we’ll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward. 
Thank you.  God bless you, and God bless America.

Obama will fire Photon Torpedos at them

In regards to national security, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited than fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney to handle an alien invasion. In fact, more than two in three (68%) women say that Obama would be more adept at dealing with an alien invasion than Romney, vs. 61 percent of men. And more younger citizens, ages 18 to 64 years, than those aged 65+ (68% vs. 50%) think Romney would not be as well-suited as Obama to handle an alien invasion.

Daily Caller: Most Americans don’t see aliens as the blood-thirsty beasts portrayed in films like Alien, but imagine them to be more like the Reese’s-loving E.T.

More than seven in 10 Americans think that aliens are more likely to exist than zombies, superheroes and vampires. If an alien invasion does happen, poll respondents said the Hulk should be called in to save the planet, beating out Batman and Spiderman.

But what would the average citizen do if an alien passed them on the street? Twenty-two percent would try to be the alien’s friend, 15 percent would run away, 13 percent would lock their doors and two percent would try to harm the extraterrestrial. (NRA Members).



n regards to national security, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited than fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney to handle an alien invasion. In fact, more than two in three (68%) women say that Obama would be more adept at dealing with an alien invasion than Romney, vs. 61 percent of men. And more younger citizens, ages 18 to 64 years, than those aged 65+ (68% vs. 50%) think Romney would not be as well-suited as Obama to handle an alien invasion.
In regards to national security, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited than fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney to handle an alien invasion. In fact, more than two in three (68%) women say that Obama would be more adept at dealing with an alien invasion than Romney, vs. 61 percent of men. And more younger citizens, ages 18 to 64 years, than those aged 65+ (68% vs. 50%) think Romney would not be as well-suited as Obama to handle an alien invasion.
- In regards to national security, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited than fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney to handle an alien invasion. In fact, more than two in three (68%) women say that Obama would be more adept at dealing with an alien invasion than Romney, vs. 61 percent of men. And more younger citizens, ages 18 to 64 years, than those aged 65+ (68% vs. 50%) think Romney would not be as well-suited as Obama to handle an alien invasion.
- In regards to national security, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited than fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney to handle an alien invasion. In fact, more than two in three (68%) women say that Obama would be more adept at dealing with an alien invasion than Romney, vs. 61 percent of men. And more younger citizens, ages 18 to 64 years, than those aged 65+ (68% vs. 50%) think Romney would not be as well-suited as Obama to handle an alien invasion.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I admire his candor

Speaking to the PA Republican state committee House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said "Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”The statement drew a loud round of applause from the audience.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kaufer to talk economics

Aaron Kaufer to present his economic plan, PA FIRST, the
Program for Achieving Future Investments by Reforming State Taxes

Kingston, Pa. -- Aaron Kaufer will present his economic plan, PA FIRST, at the American Legion in Kingston on Tuesday. In these tough economic times, it isn’t enough to simply offer the promise of economic solutions tomorrow for the real problems of today. Aaron has developed a plan to stimulate job growth within our state by establishing targeted tax credits aimed at reforming our state’s taxes, streamlining state government, and eliminating the state deficit all while protecting the most vital services in our commonwealth. 

WHEN: Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 7 p.m.
WHERE: American Legion Post 395
386 Wyoming Ave.
Kingston, Pa. 18704.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scollo opposes Ryan budget

Businessman Phil Scollo Joins Republican Congressman in Bipartisan Opposition to the Ryan/Marino Budget

Dingman, PA - Businessman Phil Scollo has made bipartisan reform, pragmatic common-sense and job creation early centerpieces of his campaign to represent the people of Northeast and Central Pennsylvania. Below is a statement from Scollo -- once again reaching across the aisle -- building on Congressman David McKinley's (R-WV) recent statements regarding the Ryan/Marino budget's impact on Medicare and seniors.

"Pennsylvania seniors deserve better. They worked hard all their lives and honoring our promises to our seniors is not, or at least should not be a partisan political issue it should be a national point of pride and unity. 

Opposition to the Ryan/Marino budget is something many Republicans, Independents and Democrats agree on. As Republican U.S. Rep. McKinley said, this budget would privatize Medicare for future retirees thus ending the Medicare guarantee and doubling out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Pennsylvania's seniors, working families and future retirees cannot afford this enormous mistake and they don't deserve this serious slap in the face. My opponent, Congressman Tom Marino, voted for this budget twice, once for each year he has been in office. He owns its disgrace."

In part, Rep. McKinley's mailers said, "Congressman McKinley recently voted against the 2012 budget passed by the House because of the plan’s negative impact on northern West Virginia seniors. The plan would privatize Medicare for future retirees, raise the retirement age and keep in place the Medicare cuts included in last year’s healthcare bill. The Congressional Budget Office determined the plan would nearly double out-of-pocket healthcare costs for future retirees."

See the mailers in their entirety here:

"GOPer’s Mailer Attacks House Republicans For Privatizing Medicare And Preserving ‘Obamacare’ Medicare Cuts," by BRIAN BEUTLER, Talking Points Memo, June 21, 2012, Link:

NEPA BlogCon launch party tomorrow

NEPA BlogCon 2012 is excited to announce its website launch and will be hosting a launch party on Friday, June 22, 2012 from 5 to 7:00 p.m. at the River Grille in Plains. This marks the first of many events leading up to Northeastern Pennsylvania's first blogging conference.

The Launch Party will include free appetizers, door prizes, giveaways, and a chance to network with NEPA BlogCon organizers and attendees. It’s a free event, but attendees can make a suggested $5 donation.

NEPA BlogCon is a daylong conference and networking event to be held at Luzerne County Community College on September 29, 2012. It's designed to bring together bloggers of all experience levels, as well as those interested in marketing, social media, and communicating through the internet. All proceeds will benefit The Arc of Luzerne County & the NEPA Veterans Multicare Alliance.

NEPA BlogCon 2012 is excited to announce its website launch and will be

RSVP and find more details about this event on the Facebook page.

The Fearsome Foursome Leslie , Michelle , Karla and Mandy are doing a great job of a slow roll out with a radio appearance and a nice article in the Weekender with more to come.

This part of the Weekender piece I found interesting.

BlogCon is not to be confused with Blog Fest, which is a twice-yearly gathering of local bloggers that will be held again in September.

“I don’t think that BlogCon and Blog Fest really compete with each other, because they are two completely different events,” explained Hryvnak-Davies. “Blog Fest has always been a more political event in nature and informal networking with bloggers and politicians

. I am putting together a Hit the Deck event in July for us political types ( looking for a venue in the 11th CD) that everyone is welcome just like Blogfest.

What's with the Squirrels?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Talk to Lou

WASHINGTON U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, will hold a telephone town hall meeting to discuss issues important to senior citizens between 10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, June 20.
Anyone who is interested in participating in the call can by dialing (877) 229-8493, then enter the code 19175.
This is the third telephone town hall meeting Rep. Barletta will have held since he took office in January 2011.

I'm not sure when Barletta had an actual in person town hall meeting which is rich because he blasted Paul Kanjorski  in 2010 for not having them. Kanjo famously explained
“We will do everything we can to meet with people, but I’m not going to set myself up for, you know, nuts to hit me with a camera.”

This is billed as a seniors issues event but I will bet that the President's recent decision to stop deporting people that were brought to the US as children might come up. Maybe a few people will call in objecting to having their grandchildren forceably removed from the only country they have ever known.
I'll give some props to Barletta for sticking to his guns on his signature issue.
The rest of the Republican Party is not sure how to react
Romney won’t say whether he would undo Obama’s decision to end deportations of DREAM-eligible immigrants. Romney and his campaign passed up numerous opportunities over the weekend to say whether he agreed with the substance of the Obama administration’s order to stop deporting some young undocumented immigrants and whether a President Romney would rescind the order, saying only, “We’ll look at that — we’ll look at that setting as we– as we reach that.”

McConnell said he would wait — until presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had taken a position first.
“I think we’re going to wait and see what governor Romney has to say, and we’re going to be discussing his views on this,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. “I think many of us may have similar views. Others may not.”
McConnell said he was deferring to Romney because the former Massachusetts governor is “the leader of our party from now until November — and, we hope, beyond.”
But McConnell’s reticence also reflects broader confusion and division within the GOP over how to react to Obama’s move

Monday, June 18, 2012


More complicated than it looks

I'm trying to update the blogroll but hitting all kinds of hiccups. Part of the problem is that I need new hardware.All the links I open in IE8 are a mess and it keeps crashing the computer. However Firefox is working well. Go figure.

Making progress.

I was going  to put this on Twitter but I don't want to exhaust my Blogging Energy Units but it is on Facebook.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Idiot watch

Arrest in Plains Little League fire 

Harding man arrested in Plains Little League arson

After getting liquored up at a bar Brian Gashi, 39, of Harding and a friend (who he wouldn't rat out) went looking for a place to rob. They broke into the Plains Little League clubhouse and got away with deep fryer, food, candy, beverages, money, an electronic score board controller and the public address system To top it it off he set fire to place. Those actions make him a scumbag but he rises to level of idiot criminal because he left his cell phone behind.. The cops called a few people on his saved list who told him who he was then arrested him and he confessed to the crime. My favorite Judge let him go earlier,  David Lupas vacated an arrest warrant for Gashi on March 7th. I'm not sure who the bigger idiot is.

I always try to find a video to go along with Idiot Watch (YouTube Weekend) and got 3 suggestions.

Michelle suggested Lady Gaga. I always look for an excuse to post a Gaga video but this really fits with all the prison imagery. 


DB Echo thinks this Robert Cray song speaks to the incident.

I'm also thinking Robert Cray's "Smoking Gun":

I get a constant busy signalWhen I call you on the phoneI get a strong uneasy feelingYou're not sitting there alone
I'm having nasty, nasty visionsAnd baby you're in every one, yeahAnd I'm so afraid I'm gonna find you withA so called smoking gun    Mrs. G 

Friday, June 15, 2012

POTUS picks a fight with Dream Act Lite

The DREAM Act  is a common sense proposal to give kids that were brought into the United States by their illegal immigrant parents  a path to legal status by going to college or serving in the military. Before the the Republican Party went all Tea Party Nutso it was supported by many GOP lawmakers including Senators Orin Hatch, John McCain and Richard Lugar.

Today President Obama announced that  the U.S. will stop deporting some illegal immigrants who came here as children. 

The usual suspects are howling including some jerk that heckled the President when he was speaking in the Rose Garden. He will probably become a hero to the right wing bloggers and Fox News  like the asshole who yelled "you lie" during the State of the Union a few years ago.   Imagine if that had happened to the last occupant of the White House.

Rose Garden
2:09 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just -- specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.”
These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.  They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one:  on paper.  They were brought to this country by their parents -- sometimes even as infants -- and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship. 
Put yourself in their shoes.  Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life -- studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class -- only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.
That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act.  It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship.  And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away. 
Now, both parties wrote this legislation.  And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it.  It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it.  The bill hasn’t really changed.  The need hasn’t changed.  It’s still the right thing to do.  The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics. 

As I said in my speech on the economy yesterday, it makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans -- they’ve been raised as Americans; understand themselves to be part of this country -- to expel these young people who want to staff our labs, or start new businesses, or defend our country simply because of the actions of their parents -- or because of the inaction of politicians. 
In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places.  So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history -- today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years.  We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education.  And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent.  We've improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully.  Well, today, we're improving it again. 
Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people.  Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.
Now, let's be clear -- this is not amnesty, this is not immunity.  This is not a path to citizenship.  It's not a permanent fix.  This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.  It is --
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  -- the right thing to do. 
Q    -- foreigners over American workers.
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, sir.  It's not time for questions, sir.
Q    No, you have to take questions.
THE PRESIDENT:  Not while I'm speaking. 
Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act.  There is still time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act this year, because these kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments.  And we still need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our 21st century economic and security needs -- reform that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty about the workers that they'll have.  Reform that gives our science and technology sectors certainty that the young people who come here to earn their PhDs won't be forced to leave and start new businesses in other countries.  Reform that continues to improve our border security, and lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
Just six years ago, the unlikely trio of John McCain, Ted Kennedy and President Bush came together to champion this kind of reform.  And I was proud to join 23 Republicans in voting for it.  So there’s no reason that we can’t come together and get this done.
And as long as I’m President, I will not give up on this issue, not only because it’s the right thing to do for our economy -- and CEOs agree with me -- not just because it’s the right thing to do for our security, but because it’s the right thing to do, period.  And I believe that, eventually, enough Republicans in Congress will come around to that view as well.
And I believe that it’s the right thing to do because I’ve been with groups of young people who work so hard and speak with so much heart about what’s best in America, even though I knew some of them must have lived under the fear of deportation.  I know some have come forward, at great risks to themselves and their futures, in hopes it would spur the rest of us to live up to our own most cherished values.  And I’ve seen the stories of Americans in schools and churches and communities across the country who stood up for them and rallied behind them, and pushed us to give them a better path and freedom from fear --because we are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids. 
And the answer to your question, sir -- and the next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question -- is this is the right thing to do for the American people --
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  I didn’t ask for an argument.  I’m answering your question. 
Q    I'd like to --
THE PRESIDENT:  It is the right thing to do -- 
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  -- for the American people.  And here’s why --
Q    -- unemployment --
THE PRESIDENT:  Here’s the reason:  because these young people are going to make extraordinary contributions, and are already making contributions to our society. 
I’ve got a young person who is serving in our military, protecting us and our freedom.  The notion that in some ways we would treat them as expendable makes no sense.  If there is a young person here who has grown up here and wants to contribute to this society, wants to maybe start a business that will create jobs for other folks who are looking for work, that’s the right thing to do.  Giving certainty to our farmers and our ranchers; making sure that in addition to border security, we’re creating a comprehensive framework for legal immigration -- these are all the right things to do. 
We have always drawn strength from being a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation of laws, and that’s going to continue.  And my hope is that Congress recognizes that and gets behind this effort. 
All right.  Thank you very much.
Q    What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?
                     END                                               2:17 P.M. EDT
  Congressman Lou Barletta had this response:

WASHINGTON - EE.UU. congresista Lou Barletta, PA-11, emitió la siguiente declaración sobre el presidente Obama la concesión de la amnistía a los inmigrantes ilegales el viernes:

"Este anuncio no es nada más que una amnistía de puerta trasera por lo menos 800.000 inmigrantes ilegales. Es aterrador que el presidente de los Estados Unidos está eludiendo la ley de inmigración estadounidense. Más que eso, él está pasando por alto al Congreso, la reescritura de la ley de inmigración, y sobrepasando su autoridad constitucional.

"Mientras que nuestra tasa de desempleo ha sido superior al 8 por ciento en 40 meses, el presidente Obama ahora va a repartir permisos de trabajo a los extranjeros ilegales. Millones de estadounidenses no pueden encontrar trabajo, pero el presidente aboga por dar dos años de permiso de trabajo - con un número ilimitado de renovaciones - a los extranjeros ilegales. El presidente Obama tiene que explicar su decisión a los ciudadanos estadounidenses y los del país de manera legal que no puede encontrar un buen empleo, mantener la familia.

"Esto es una traición a los trabajadores estadounidenses y los inmigrantes legales en Estados Unidos.

"Descarada maniobra política del presidente Obama se produce días antes de los EE.UU. Corte Suprema de Justicia es probable que mantener la SB 1070 de Arizona, que trabaja en armonía con la ley federal para detener la inmigración ilegal. Así que no sólo es decisión del presidente de eludir al Congreso, pero también está pasando por alto el más alto tribunal del país.

"Yo diría que me sorprendió por este flagrante abuso de la presidencia, pero eso no sería verdad. El presidente Obama usará cualquiera y todos los trucos políticos para ser reelegidos. Me pregunto hasta qué punto el presidente Obama irá antes de noviembre. "

Lou Barletta to get Tommy John treatment

No, there is nothing wrong with Lou's pitching arm although some wags say he may need corrective surgery on his tongue.  The Cincinnati Reds tryout  and New York Yankees fan (another reason not to vote for him) has former Evil Empire pitcher Tommy John coming to town to stump for him. The event will be at Genetti's in Wilkes-Barre on Friday, June 22, 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Not to be picky but Wilkes-Barre will no longer be in the 11th Congressional District after the latest gerrymander.

Barletta continues to wage his war on immigrants getting an amendment passed to block the Department of Justice from enforcing the laws on the books. If we don't have immigrants who will play shortstop or kick extra points?

There is a rumor that his challenger Gene Stilp will be bringing in an offspring of Arnold Ziffel of Green Acres fame  to campaign for him. Pignelope is handling the details.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Meet Rapid Edward

Former PA Governor Ed Rendell will be at the Barnes & Noble at the Arena Hub Plaza in Wilkes-Barre on Friday 7-9PM to sign his book. The name comes from his famous rant about the NFL postponing an Eagles game in 2010 because the weather forecast predicted a blizzard that didn't happen.

HP:  "I think it is a joke," Rendell said, explaining that there was only five inches of snow on the ground when the game would have started. "I was looking forward to this. It would have been a real experience. This is what football is all about. We're becoming a nation of wussies."
The game was supposed to be played on Sunday night, but it was moved to Tuesday for safety concerns.

I first met the Guv at a campaign event in 2002  at the Riverfront in Plains organized by then Luzerne County Controller Steve Flood. I told him to get past the election stuff and get back on  CSN for the Eagles pre and post-game shows like when he was Mayor of Philadelphia that may have helped him win the primary against Bob Casey. He won the general election defeating Atty. General Mike Fisher 53% to 44%. He won reelection in a blowout in 2006 over Steelers great Lynn Swann 60%-40%. 

Many people dubbed him Fast Eddie, especially his political opponents. I think that is disrespectful so I prefer Rapid Edward that a commenter on GrassrootsPA  that is now The Keystone Report (gotta fix that link) came up with. Thanks Conservative Goddess. 
PN: In 2004, Rendell’s car was clocked at traveling more than 100 mph several times in a four-month period.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Greens oppose W-B parking deal

Green Party Joins Other Citizen Groups in Opposing Privatization of Wilkes-Barre’s Parking Resources.
The Luzerne County Green Party is now on record as opposing Mayor Leighton’s plan to sell city parking resources, and revenues, that are needed to assure long-term management of the city.  “The sale will provide a quick infusion of cash at first, but that will only assure Mayor Leighton completes his term without huge tax hikes.  However, it leaves the city in a mess, and lacking the revenue stream city lots and meters provide, forcing even more burden on Wilkes-Barre property owners and businesses,” explained Dr. Richard Aston, Green Party Parliamentarian.
          The Greens further cite that destabilizing parking issues, in the hands of a corporate entity with no obligation to deal with public concerns, will negatively impact on the delicate, but regenerating downtown business community.  “In addition to our hope for the success of the new, locally owned businesses downtown; one cannot diminish the obligation the city owes its cornerstone, longtime businesses.  Boscov’s, Marquis Art and Frame, Outlet Army Navy, Bartikowsky’s, and Circles on the Square are good examples of quality businesses that persevered during some dark days in Wilkes-Barre. The city must be responsible to those who have taken great risk and sacrifice in the belief that the city will once again thrive.  There has been much positive in the direction of business in Wilkes-Barre, but so much more needs to be done,” stated Carl Romanelli, Party Co-chair.
          Along with support for local business, the Greens want to thank the many civic and community groups that have already come out against the leasing of city parking resources.  “We have been opposed to the Mayor/JJ parking plan for a while now, but we have also been encouraged and inspired by the diverse voices in agreement.  Representatives from other third parties, Crime Watch, taxpayers groups, Downtown Business Association, and Downtown Residents association have all made articulate cases for the City Council to NOT approve this expensive scheme.  We join them, and demand that Council not ignore the need of Wilkes-Barre, just to further enrich the already comfortable,” Romanelli advised.  “It’s like Hawkeye all over again.”
          The Luzerne County Green Party has existed since May of 2000, organized around Ralph Nader’s Green Party candidacy for President of the US, and has met monthly since.  All of its meetings have been in Downtown Wilkes-Barre.  The local presidential caucus (Green Party had a contested primary for president) was scheduled at Boscov’s Restaurant in the Sophia Room last month.  The party emphasized that the event was held there in order to reinforce the party’s commitment to supporting local and regional businesses.
The Greens were successful, in coalition with other groups, in passing the now infamous Wilkes-Barre Council Districts Charter Amendment.  It also was at the forefront of defending Denise Carey when convicted, ex-judge Michael Conahan attempted to impose fees on Ms. Carey for attempting to petition to amend the city’s charter; in the wake of the closing of the Northampton Street firehouse in 2005.

Phyllis says invest in kids

Mundy bolsters state aid for child care, early learning

HARRISBURG, June 11 State Rep. Phyllis Mundy successfully amended the proposed state budget last week to restore funding for early childhood education programs and subsidized child care for low-income, working families.

"Countless studies have proven over and over again the economic and social benefits of high-quality early childhood care and education," said Mundy, D-Luzerne. "These programs earn between seven to sixteen dollars for every dollar invested."

Mundy's amendment restores the Senate’s proposed cuts to Keystone STARS, an initiative that promotes quality in early childhood education programs. Keystone STARS provides grant awards to early learning programs for use in workforce development and retention, learning materials, and facility safety enhancements.

Mundy said her amendment also maintains the number of subsidized child care slots at the same level as this fiscal year. Luzerne County already has a waiting list of 118 for subsidized child care, a number which would grow under the Senate’s proposed cuts. Mundy said previous cuts to the program by the Ridge administration had negative consequences.

"Low-income working mothers had to quit their jobs and go on welfare because they could not afford child care," she said "Teen mothers had to drop out of school because they could no longer afford child care. Low-income parents want to work, but child care can be more than they can afford." 

Mundy’s amendment also reinstates the TEACH program, which offers scholarships for the continuing education of teachers who work with young, vulnerable children. The program was eliminated in last year’s budget.

"Revenue is available for these programs without raising any taxes, so there’s no excuse to not adequately fund them," Mundy said. "We have made a lot of progress in these investments over the past ten years. We can’t afford to backslide now."

Mundy’s amendment passed the House unanimously on Tuesday, but there is no guarantee it will remain in the final budget bill negotiated between the Republican House and Senate leaders and the Governor.

"Given the unanimous vote in support of early learning programs, I hope this funding is included in the final budget," Mundy said.

A final vote on the state budget is expected later this month.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Triple Crown

There only has been 11 horses that have won the Triple Crown and just 21 who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but lost in the Belmont Stakes. There were 3 that took the prize in the 1970's, Secretariat 1973, Seattle Slew 1977 and Affirmed 1978 and before that the last triple crown winner was Citation in 1948. Many bar patrons in the country will be pulling for I'll Have Another to make history this Saturday. We like the name.

Speaking of bars.

The Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society will gather to watch the Belmont Stakes at the usual place this  Saturday, 5PM at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre.

This may be the first  true OT Committee meeting in a long time as it looks like all the original members will actually be working on Saturday.

Of course this is an inclusive event as we welcome all friends, readers,  commenters, bloggers, Facebook friends, politicians, clergymen, vegetarians, veterinarians,  pastafarians, welders, masons, mechanics and anybody else to join us.

 This pic of Rapid Edward and Barbaro (close but no cigar) is our unofficial image of horse racing :

Update: I'll Have Another has bee scratched because of a sore leg but we will still be gathering to infuse cash into the malt beverage industry.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Stop the Bickering and Pass the Transportation Bill

By: Matt Cartwright, Democratic Candidate for Congress, PA-17

With depressed monthly job numbers released last week, showing only about 69,000 jobs created in May, many elected officials have gone on the defensive and expressed concern.  I have a suggestion: pass the bi-partisan Senate transportation bill. 
Our nation's unemployment rate currently lingers above 8 percent.  But it's even worse for the construction industry, with a jobless rate that currently exceeds 14 percent.  Passing a bill that funds infrastructure projects across our Nation will directly employ workers to build and repair roads, bridges, railways, runways and ports.  At the height of the construction season in America, with communities everywhere in need of infrastructure improvements, numerous projects large and small are stalled for lack of funding.  All Congress has to do to add nearly 1 million American jobs?  Pass the transportation bill.

At the same time House Republicans are criticizing a lack of jobs, they are holding the largest job-creating bill hostage.  Republicans in the Senate, the Democrats in the Senate, the President of the United States, and the House Democrats all support this bipartisan bill.  This is all eerily similar to the irresponsible debt limit debate of last summer, which resulted in Standard & Poor's credit rating agency downgrading the long-term credit rating of the United States government for the first time in its history, from AAA to AA+. 

In February, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly (75 Senators voted yes) passed bi-partisan legislation – "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century"(MAP-21) – that calls for $109 billion over two years for the nation's transportation infrastructure needs.  This legislation will continue to support an additional 1.9 million American jobs, while supporting or creating 73,700 in Pennsylvania.  However, the House of Representatives has failed to pass this immensely important transportation bill. 

As a House-Senate conference committee has been trying to reach agreement on a bill to take effect after the June 30th extension ends, the negotiations are getting bogged down unnecessarily.  That's because rather than serving the American people by passing the bi-partisan Senate bill, Republican House lawmakers want to force controversial concessions.

At a time when our nation's infrastructure is literally deteriorating, our economy is sluggishly moving along and Americans need work, we need leadership.  We need a leader who will fight to bring jobs home, right here, in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Wisconsin Recall

I'm glad that we don't have recall elections in Pennsylvania. We elect our officials for a fixed term and if we don't like what they have been up to we get a chance to vote them out after 4 years. As much as I oppose what Tom Corbett has done in the last 2 years another election is not the way to do it.  I'm willing to wait for Joe Sestack or someone else to take him on in 2014.

Local bloggers the Blogfather and RWF are crowing about Scott Walker's win in Wisconsin. The Citizen's United decision opened the spigot for outside and anonymous money that may have swung the election.

CBS:  According to the Center for Public Integrity, candidates and outside groups spent in excess of $63 million on the recall election - an enormous figure that easily breaks the previous record of $37.4 million (set in the 2010 gubernatorial contest) for spending in a Wisconsin election. According to the New York Times, Walker and his Republican allies spent $45.6 million on the race as of May 21, while Barrett and his allies have spent $17.9 million.

Mark and Aggie are celebrating a defeat for the unions involved. Maybe the people who ask why do those  people have protections and benefits that I don't have should ask why don't I?
This thing started as a fight about union rights.

 What Have Unions Done for America?

  1. End child labor
  2. 8 hour work day
  3. 40 hour work week
  4. Paid Overtime
  5. Weekends (yes, they didn't exist as days off before unions)
  6. Workers compensation for people injured on the job
  7. Unemployment insurance
  8. Paid sick leave, vacations, and holidays as standard benefits for most workers
  9. Health Insurance for many workers
  10. Pensions or 401Ks for many workers
  11. Improve workplace safety and reduce on the job fatalities
  12. Pushed for Civil Right Acts and Title VII which outlaws job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin
  13. Occupational Safety and Health Act
  14. Family Medical Leave Act
  15. Push for livable minimum wage
 While discussing what role unions have in America today, lets not forget what benefits most workers in America have today that's taken for granted.  Those of you saying "Thank God it's Friday!", also remember to thank unions or there's a good chance you'd be working on Saturday.