Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Intemperate thoughts

I got home early today. And you have no idea how pleased I am.

Anyway, I fired this electronic bugger up to find the following: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE…O’BRIEN TO ANNOUNCE DECISION ON ENTERING PA-11 CONGRESSIONAL RACE

And the attached press release included his bio as well as his, ahem, list of accomplishments, which reads like the shopping list of someone in possession of approximately five or six nickels. It’s so borderline threadbare, you’d swear it belonged to the current occupant of the White House.

So, it’s Corey O’Brien versus Paul Kanjorski? O'Pretty Boy versus Congressman Grump?

Join me in a collective yawn.

Um, according to the Citizens’ Voice, some former “labor leader” left nearly $1 million to a local charity by way of a couple of handpicked trustees, and now the money has turned up missing. And, yes, the authorities are looking into it, or some such thing.

Now here’s the part that had me scratching my fat head, excerpted from that Voice story:

“Kane, who was an official with the Wyoming Valley West teachers union and Musicians Local 140 named…”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Say again???

The WVW teachers union? And some local musicians union? And he’s bequeathing almost a million greenbacks in his wake? How does a smalltime fish such as that amass such a fortune?

Tell your kids to drop out of school by the 8th grade and buy, sleep or suck their way into a union position of some importance. Not, like, being the knee capper or the folks who burn records storage facilities when the Feds come sniffing around. You know, a big shot like Jimmy Hoffa, wherever he is.

Apparently, this union organizing stuff pays fairly well.

The way I see it, Judge Peter Paul Olszewski is guilty as charged. My one-part indictment is as follows:

He flew to Florida on a private jet, played some golf, partied a bit with some folks he had not previously met or did not know all that well, and he spent time in a swanky condominium.

I will hold my online sentencing hearing on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 10 am. Until such sentencing, the defendant is free of his own recognizance.

Although, I was wondering about something. Did any of my fellow internet judges, juries and executioners ever hear of what they call timeshares? You know, while you’re visiting such a wonderful place, you just assume that your distant aunt--your host--is rich beyond all belief, only to later learn that she’s only paying a fraction of the total cost of the condo?

You know, like appearances aren’t always what they seem. As in, perhaps Olszewski didn’t really know nor did he really care what the ownership arrangement of the condo was. Like, we shouldn’t automatically assume that he should have suspected that something wasn’t right. Right?

I dunno.

This is fun:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "River Common": Nah it was the Navy's version of the AT-6 and SJ. I know the pilot. that's really not even remotely cool of you to say you phoned in a bomb threat and want to pack a BB gun. Get a life. Why don't you clean up the Susquehanna instead of taking credit for defeating a "powerful politicians. LMAO. you're an idiot. You don't have a clue. Why not try an effect positive change instead of being an ass.

Positive change? Uh, do you mean like fighting to keep a polluted, free-flowing river free-flowing in perpetuity? Giving it a chance to cleanse and heal itself one day?

Would that be like demanding that the congressman scrap the crap-collecting dam in favor of eliminating the Combined Sewage Outflows (CSO) that dump untold hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated raw sewage (possibly more) into the river every time the darkened sky gets to dumping on us?

Positive change like that?


From the Lu Lac Political Letter:


Bridget Giunta, Wilkes-Barre city’s administrative coordinator during the Leighton administration, is leaving her position at the end of business Wednesday. Giunta has accepted a position as associate director of alumni relations at Wilkes University. She starts her new job Thursday. Seems like short notice to me but I have a viable replacement for her, one who knows the city, is a great communicator and is passionate about the Leighton administration. As a taxpaying member of the city of Wilkes Barre I nominate Mark Cour. He’ll do a good job expounding on the merits of the Leighton initiatives and few would be hard pressed to disagree with him because of his powers of persuasion. It would be kind of like Harry Truman meets Spin City.

Why thank you, David (I guess). Please tell the mayor that I’ll have to provide my current employer with a two-week notice before taking on my new position at City Hall.

My first official act will be to scrap the Muzak system and pipe some Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick and Frank Zappa through those hallowed halls.

Next up, the dress code will be relaxed (liberalized) to include shorts and tank tops.

And I want a spoken (hushed) guarantee that I can join the Luzerne County judiciary in a ghost position after "serving" at City Hall.

I would be more than willing to be the spokesman to the mayor. And since the United States is going broke faster than Iranians can ready ICBMs for launch, and since the responsibility for all of the mayor’s decisions, programs and initiatives should rest with him, whenever controversy erupts, my fallback position will always be, the dime stops here. Or, the Canadian half-nickel, that is.


Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm busy, man

To those who've inquired, no, I ain't run off with no teen queen. Well, not yet, that is.

In actuality, despite the lingering economic malaise, I am currently working far more hours than I want to. In fact, I was out the door at 6 am today, I have an hour break as I type this and then I'm heading back out. Should be home by 9:30 pm. I hope.

I spent the better part of my day off last week teaching my grandson Zach how to ride a two-wheeler sans the training wheels. Or as he calls them, baby wheels.

And being that we're into the 3rd week of fantasy football, that's been eating into my free time in a big, big way. But, after the first couple of weeks or so, the rosters kind of settle into place and it requires much less scouting and reading and the like. So that will be less of a time-consuming concern going forward.

Speaking of fantasy football, the weekend programming on WILK is about as interesting as would be a foot race between two cinder blocks. And I got to wondering what the reaction would be if I were to pitch Nancy Kman my bright idea. How about an hour-long fantasy football show on WILK on Sunday mornings?

Yeah, the NFL teams release their injury reports by 11:30, so why can't we go on the air at 10 am or somewhere thereabouts and have at it with the fantasy routine? Who should I call for an audition?

Nancy? Joe? Mean ole Bosco?

Anywho, I'm still watching and listening and reading, but I'm working a helluva lot right now. And I'm making tons of money. And as the current political environment would prescribe, I am "more fortunate" than very many of you. One of life's undeserving winners, I suppose. But have no fear. The party currently in power has designs on any and all monies I may earn.

So hang in there, quit your crappy job, and the Dems will eventually take care of you and yours at my expense.

In parting, to Commissioner Skrep I would say, a falsified receipt is a falsified receipt. And any employer/manager worth his own pay and benefits would immediately terminate in a literal heartbeat any employee handing in bogus receipts for reimbursement. You see, out here in the real world, here in the private sector where budgets are actually balanced and raging torrents of red ink aren't the norm...theft is theft.

Consider this a free one-on-one training exchange.

Oh, and, you're welcome.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Transparency starts with the controller

Let’s take another look at yesterday’s Citizens’ Voice, shall we?

On the cover we have the picture of our two indicted former judges with the caption relaying that the prosecuting feds feel the judges had been liquidating their ill begotten assets in advance of any charges.

On Page 2 we have the story about the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority levying a levee maintenance tax on property owners in a select few towns. Of course, none of this would be necessary in the first place if the county wasn’t bleeding red ink every single fiscal year. If the county wasn’t a giant financial feeding trough for the elected and appointed, I imagine the flood authority could be subsidized by timely transfers from the general fund. You know, the next to non-existent general fund.

What was it? The county expects to come up some $18 million short this year? Jeez! And when I was writing at that other Web site all those years, very many asked me why I rarely wrote about the goings-on at the county level. Why? Because nothing they did or do adds up. Literally!

Page 3, the judges "covering their assets" again.

Page 4 has the story of the guy who testified against a slew of others as part of an ongoing judicial “case-fixing” scandal. And it includes many references to organized crime, as well as former and current elected and appointed officials.

On Page 5 is the piece about the latest Wilkes-Barre Area School Board official to be indicted on conspiracy charges. The third member to be accused of wrongdoing, and the second board president in just three months.

Also on the same page we have the bit about the former Luzerne County Manager, about how one of his confidantes testified before a grand jury. Oh, and how the investigators seized county records that were removed from the county after the former manager jumped from a management position to a judicial position.

Oh, yeah. And the county’s debit card scandal garners yet another mention in print. And then there’s a mention of some shady contract procurement that seems to have gone on of late.

As of this moment, I haven’t even bothered to read today’s newspapers. What’s the point? Unless Barack Oblahblah got into a knock-down, drag-out fistfight with Joe Wilson, I kind of know what sorts of stories will dominate the first few pages of either newspaper. Right?

And as the general election date, November 3, looms on the calendar, I’m hoping that the residents of this county have had just about enough of this hanky panky. This outright thievery and arrogance on the part of the people that were supposed to be looking out for our best interests all this time…not theirs.

You could remind me that we need to support this latest Home Rule attempt. That we need to rewrite the county’s code. I’ve got no argument for that. But that sort of revolution, if it occurs at all, is still many, many months away.

In the short term, we need to remake this county from a cloistered and invite-only one-party system into a two-party system by electing Republicans.

I’ve never been one for reprinting press releases from political parties or candidates. But with that general election coming up, I have been doing exactly that. As far as I’m concerned, we need as many republicans thrown into this ethically and financially toxic mix as humanly possible. We need for the one-party death grip on this bass-ackwards county to come to an abrupt halt. It’s time to shake things up. And then some.

I think we need to vote for Carolee Medico Olenginski, as well as Register of Wills Candidate Gina Nevenglosky . Basically, we need to put a couple of the row offices in the hands of that other party promising us Operation HEART: Honesty…Ethics…Accountability…Reform…Transparency.

I want Harry Haas elected to the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board. I want a bright young mind, an educator, a person who seems forthrightly dedicated to the kids given a shot. Yes, for the first time ever, I guess I’m actually excited about and endorsing a candidate for the dreaded school board. Imagine that.

With all of that said, even if all of those folks went down to defeat when next we vote, I feel it’s absolutely imperative that we elect Walter Griffith to be our next county controller.

When first I mentioned that he just might be the right guy at the right time, one of my local blogging mates astutely made a reference to hell freezing over. Something or other.

Sure, there’s no denying that Walter and I have bumped electronic heads over the past few years, and I’ll share with you my chief complaint with Walter’s stated positions during that period. As it pertained to the operation of Wilkes-Barre and the proposed financing of the many high-profile projects under consideration, he had pretty much the same mindset no matter what. As far as I was concerned, he saw everything as an expense.

And I was here to remind him that while there are expenses, there are also legitimate investments. Investments in our future. And differentiating between the two would determine which course of action the city would be taking in the immediate future. It would go a long, long way to determining what the landscape of the city would look like, um, now.

Now, with the county’s fast-deteriorating financial condition what it currently is, I want that guy scrutinizing every expense the county incurs from January 2010 forward. I want my next county controller seeing practically everything as an expense, and not an investment. And with the county being so heavily leveraged and so completely bereft of cash, I seriously doubt we either need to or should want to consider many expensive, high-profile projects at the county level other than addressing the overcrowding at the county prison.

Well, that’s assuming the county could even afford to finance a high-profile project at this point without floating more bonds, or once again restructuring it's re-re-re-re-restructured debts.

I want some controlling going on. I want some overbearing financial oversight going on. And if that were to ruffle some feathers or cause some ill feelings under that courthouse dome, so be it. I'll take a few catfights on Page 1. I even invite a few missteps. But I want somebody taking the job of controller seriously.

Hell just might freeze over, but I’m thinking right guy at the right time. And if any resident of this horrified county would beg to argue with that, frankly, I’d be amazed.

Harry Haas nailed it when I half-jokingly asked him what his favorite color was. His answer?


And the way I see it, we’ll never have a county government that is truly transparent until we have someone scrutinizing every penny it spends.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Taylor Kate update

Off went the soft cast, and on came the hard cast.

Very stylish, ain't it? Color coordinated and whatnot?

From the reader's comments thing:

D.B. Echo has left a new comment on your post "Fantasy & a fracture":

Now, now. Compound fractures can leave cool scars.

"That? That's from when I broke my arm. In half. And the bone stck through the skin.

"Not that I've ever had any broken bones.

My coolest scars are from a cat (not one of mine!) and molten plastic.

Molten plastic? Wow! Thanks for dredging up that long-repressed memory, the time I tried to extinguish a cluster of flaming helium-inflated balloons with my bare hand. It would have been cool and all except for the lingering burn trauma. Good grief!

I guess I forgot about compound fractures, talking about cool scars and the like.

The worse that ever happened to me was a compound fracture of a finger on my right hand, while playing softball. And being that we were playing for a keg, and being that we had not a soul on our bench, I had to finish that game with the finger as it was. And being that duct tape had yet to hit the market in earnest, we resorted to playing paramedic/trainer by way of some black electrical tape we found in the trunk of my car.

Anyway, we won that game, and we also won that keg. And somewhere about 3 am, while good and intoxicated, it suddenly occured to me that my hand was throbbing with pain. Throbbing so much, no amount of beer was going to make it stop. It hurt like hell.

So off to the emergency room the lot of us went. And to this very day, I thank my lucky stars that the security guys at General Hospital laughed at us more than they wanted to try to contain us. And the moral of the story?

When you're all busted up and way too drunk to drive, stay home, drink heavier and find some more electrical tape. Or duct tape. Whatever it takes.

I've seen a few compound fractures happen in real time. You know, playing football, arm wrestling, fist-fighting, falling off of and out of things that ought not be climbed; that kind of important stuff that was cool before the chicks took over and sissified the world.

I once caused one, a compound fracture. No, do not run to the comment generator and light me up. That was back in the overnight restaurant management days, when some babbling, off-his-meds, graybeard of a guy just released on a weekend furlough from the veteran's hospital decided to introduce my shoulder to one of his two crutches. And with quite the painful thud.

Yeah, I went all whirling derbish on the guy. I went red zone...targeting computer on. What happened to him should probably never happen to anyone. And after he was spirited away into the waiting ambulance, I overheard one of the cops on the scene telling dispatch that they were transporting the guy back to the veteran's hospital just up the street a ways.


And it was at that moment that I realized that I might have just gone all ape-sh*t on some aging, but twice, even thrice decorated medal of honor winner or some such awful, regrettable thing. Was he at Omaha? Was he at Tarawa? Did he ride the Yorktown to her final resting place?

A day or two later, we called the veteran's hospital and asked what had become of him, his condition, that sort of stuff. But, probably following proper protocol and all, they would not divulge any information.

So, yes, compound fractures can leave cool scars. Apparently, thankfully, I had forgotten about that. And as of this moment, I'm feeling guilty all over again. I know that old guy, that veteran suffered what could only be called a cool scar. And so did I.

The biggest difference being, you can't see the scar that was inflicted upon my conscience.


Walter Griffith's 9/15/09 press conference comments

Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and Members of the press.

Today we are here to announce the unity of the Republican Party to make a change in the way our State and County Government is being operated and managed, as well as the ethics or lack thereof, of the people that are currently being removed from office and removed from places of Leadership.

The Luzerne County Government has been dominated by a “One Party System” that has had control of our County for far to long, and have tarnished the image that once was our most precious and admired County Government.

The County Judicial System has been reduced to a constant investigation of Corruption and several Elected Row Offices have been removed and employee’s resigned, due to the exposure of corruption in our Government, and what is the common thread throughout this entire investigation and corruption? The people were all part of a “One Party System”

The Luzerne County Taxpayers deserve a better government and the Republican Party is here today to announce that on November 3rd 2009 the voters of this County are prepared to take control of their government by electing people that have a HEART to lead and a desire to serve for no other reason but because they want to make Luzerne County the best and most accountable County in the State of PA.

My name is Walter L Griffith Jr and I am asking for your support on November 3rd as your County Controller. The County Controller’s Office is a place where we need a true leader and person with a desire to serve the people and not the powerful politicians in government. I have been a lifelong Republican and have never changed my party affiliation to gain the favor of the politically powerful , and I have a proven track record of always thinking about what is best for the taxpayers.

The Acronym of the Luzerne County Republican Party is HEART which stands for Honesty, Ethics, Accountability, Reform and Transparency ,which represents the core values of our party in these difficult times in our County . This is what I represent in my personal business and this is my pledge to all the people of Luzerne County, on how I would represent the office of Luzerne County Controller and will always have my office open to the taxpayers that are paying my salary to represent you in the Controller’s Office in Luzerne County.

I promise to represent the taxpayers “Full Time” all the time. I will not hire a person that is a direct relative of my family, and will be a manager of the Controller’s office to make it the most efficient and productive as possible. I will represent the taxpayers on the salary board and will scrutinize each and every contract to make certain the taxpayers are never being taken advantage of because of faulty contracts.

On November 3rd please vote to change Luzerne County to a two party system once again, and elect Walter L Griffith Jr to the office of Luzerne County Controller.

“A Leader for the People and not the Politicians”

Walter L Griffith Jr.

Editor's note: I'll be there at 6:55 am on the 3rd.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Operation H.E.A.R.T.

Sept. 15, 2009                                 Contact: Renita Fennick
For Immediate Release                             (570) 208-4671


WILKES-BARRE – In the wake of corruption scandals involving Democrat government officials in the county, the Luzerne County Republican Committee announced the launch of "Operation H.E.A.R.T.," a new initiative that will highlight candidates who possess a shared commitment to honesty, ethics, accountability, reform, and transparency, at a press conference hosted at the new headquarters in Wilkes-Barre.

"Today, the people of Luzerne County are standing up and fighting back against the corruption and selfishness that has tragically pervaded our government," Chairman Casey said. "Operation H.E.A.R.T. is a chance for our community to come together and support candidates who are committed to serving the people of Luzerne County before themselves. It’s time for Luzerne County to get a HEART transplant!"

Headlining the list of speakers for the event was Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidate Judge Joan Orie Melvin, who has demonstrated a strong commitment to judicial restraint and reform during her 23 years of judicial service.

"As a 23-year veteran of the bench, I am a strong opponent of the type of corrupt and wasteful government that this county has recently fallen victim to," said Judge Orie Melvin. "I am honored to be a part of such a momentous occasion for the Luzerne County Republican Committee. The "Operation H.E.A.R.T." campaign will help Luzerne County to move forward, and usher in a new era of honesty, ethics, accountability, reform and transparency in government!"

Also on hand to speak at today’s press conference were Court of Common Pleas candidate Richard Hughes; and Controller candidate Walter Griffith. Remarks were made on behalf of Prothonotary candidate Carolee Medico Olenginski, and Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphan’s Court candidate Gina Nevenglosky who did not attend because of prior commitments.

Editor's note: Here, here!

Judicial Candidate Joan Orie Melvin's comments:

It’s an honor to be here today at the beginning of such an important movement in Luzerne County.

I came here today not just as a candidate for the Supreme Court, but as a citizen who is standing with her fellow Pennsylvanians against the culture of corruption that has taken place in this county.

The most egregious case of judicial corruption and judicial abuse of power in our nation’s history actually occurred here in Pennsylvania, in Luzerne County.

The judiciary violated these children. Within 5 minutes of being sworn in, they were escorted out in shackles to these personal profitable lock-ups. This is surreal. It is right out of a Charles Dickens’ novel.

I’ve been a judge for 24 years; uniquely serving at all levels of the judiciary. I began my judicial career in Pittsburgh’s Municipal Courts where I served as the Chief Magistrate Judge. There, we had many juveniles convicted of non-violent crimes. In my courtroom, these children and their parents were always treated with respect. I knew these children did not belong in juvenile detention centers, and if they were fined, it was the moms and dads reaching into their wallets to pay for their children’s wrongdoings. I wanted to make these children aware that as individuals they are responsible for the consequences of their own acts. As Chief Judge, I was innovative and created the first juvenile community service program. I had these kids clean up city parks, work in soup kitchens and emergency rooms. Every juvenile sentenced to my community service program successfully completed their service. I instilled accountability in these juveniles. Many of these teens wrote to me and thanked me for putting them back on the write track.

I have served also as a Common Pleas trial judge and currently, I’m in my 12th year on the Superior Court. I’m proud to say that I’m judge who remains in touch with her community. Throughout my judicial career, I’ve been actively involved in educating students about the judiciary. My most recent education program deals with education students and various parents’ groups about the civil and criminal consequences of internet usage including content on social networking sites, YouTube videos, and pictures transmitted by cell phone. Many students are unaware of these consequences as well as the implications down the road for college and job opportunities. I am a judge who has the pulse of Pennsylvania. As a judge and mother of six, I care very deeply about our future and I will always serve the people with dignity.

That’s why Operation HEART is so special.




R-Reform, and


Are all of the principles that I strive to represent and embody.

We just found out that a detailed complaint was filed against the 2 former Luzerne County judges with the Judicial Conduct Board back in 2006. This means there were numerous allegations before the Judicial Conduct Board years before the government formally accused the judges of crimes. This complaint covered the entire scandal on the widespread corruption: case fixing, mob ties, and illegal placement of juveniles in a privately owned Juvenile Detention Center. What did the Judicial Conduct Board do with the complaint? Were there other complaints filed with the Judicial Conduct Board in the five years? Where are all the complaints from all the moms and dads whose children were wrongfully whisked away into those detention centers? What about the complaints from law enforcement agents present in those courtrooms? What about the complaints from legal professionals present in those courtrooms? These were serious allegations in the complaint filed with the Judicial Conduct Board and they warranted a prompt investigation by the Judicial Conduct Board. The public has a right to know what the Judicial Conduct Board did or did not do in the Luzerne County debacle. We need to find out how and why this went horribly astray.

All of these accounts of judicial corruption caused the public to lose trust and confidence in the courts. On the Supreme Court, I would advocate for annual mandatory judicial ethics courses for all judges. I want to educate the public about their rights to file complaints against unethical judicial conduct. On the Supreme Court, I would roll up my sleeves to earn back the public’s trust.

Operation HEART is about moving this county toward a brighter future. It’s about healing the heart of the community which has been shaken to its core and realize its strengths once again.
It’s about seeing a problem within one’s community and standing up to change it. I did something similar when I developed the first Domestic Violence Court in Pennsylvania to deal with a special problem that was destroying families. It’s about commonsense government that led me to fight against the infamous 2005 pay raise. Because it was a moral conviction, I have paid back the pay raise to the treasury every year since 2005. I believe judges are public servants. It’s about empowering the voters of this county to move past the events that have dominated the past year and begin to heal its wounds.

We have a critical election that is going to take place just 49 days from now on November 3rd. Electing experienced judges of the highest character to the state and county level is critical for administration of justice.

In addition to my 24 years of judicial experience, I am a wife and a mom who has a firm understanding about the issues that are affecting hardworking families of this Commonwealth. For my entire 24 years as a judge, I have lived all of the values of Operation HEART and I will continue to take those values of honest, ethics, accountability, reform, and transparency with me to the Supreme Court.

I congratulate Chairman Terry Casey and the Luzerne County Republican Committee for their efforts and look forward to the future success of Operation HEART. I promise to do my part and campaign with "HEART" everywhere I go.

Thank you and God bless you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fantasy & a fracture

I had me one outstanding weekend. Out-effing-standing!

The NFL is back to waging barely-controlled, man-on-man physical wars again, as if any other sport really matters. Right?

Be honest. Baseball is to football what talking about fighting is to fighting. Whoa! I hit the pitch and got a bloop single completely by accident. Scored a run.


Whoa! I hit the sumbitch and got a personal misconduct ejectment completely by accident. Scored a technical knockout.


Whoa! I kicked a ball around for hours on end and, get this...I scored the only goal in our 1-0 upset victory!

And it's most amazing electronic companion, Fantasy Football, raged on as well. The head-to-head match-ups may not have been in my favor this week, but I have much to be encouraged about. For starters, try Drew Brees.


On another note, I must remind some of you that still bother to tolerate me and mine that I have 4 grandsons, and one granddaughter.

With the boys, running into each other, climbing up and falling down from stuff and receiving stitches for this that and every wound has become old hat.

With all of that said, it's the girl that goes and suffers the bestest injury yet? A fractured wrist from the girl? Damn!

I'd be impressed and whatnot except for the fact that broken bones do not result in cool scars.

Taylor Kate, while I recognize your early childhood accomplishment, I must say, you're going to have to do better next time.

Show me where the staples were removed from your scalp, and then we'll talk. Show me a rebuilt knee, and I'll take you seriously. Show me where the muscle was torn out of...

Anyway, then we'll compare cool scars.

And unil then, get well and know that we love you.




Friday, September 11, 2009

GOP events

Through Sunday, Sept. 13
Come to the Luzerne County Fair in Dallas and stop by the Luzerne County GOP booth.
Candidates are welcome to man the booth for an hour or so and drop off their campaign literature, yard signs, buttons and T-shirts.
We’re looking for volunteers to work at the booth.
If you’d like to volunteer, please contact:
Joyce D. Gebhardt http://us.mc455.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=x0britt616@aim.com
Donna Baloga http://us.mc455.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=chuggle24@hotmail.com
Dave Baloga http://us.mc455.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=opm1958@epix.net
Friday, Sept. 18, 6-9 p.m.
Meet & Greet Walter Griffith
Candidate for Luzerne County Controller
Ramada Hotel, Public Square
Donation: $25
Pay at the door or send donations to:
Committee To Elect Walter Griffith, 61 Simpson St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Saturday, Sept. 19 (all day, starts in morning)
Whitewater Rafting on the Lehigh River
Fundraiser for Dick Hughes, Candidate for Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas
Tickets: $55 each (that’s a savings of $13.95 off the regular price)
Call 208-4671 for details
Saturday, Sept. 26
Tailgate Party
Sponsored by District 6, Luzerne County Republican Committee
Headquarters, 41 S. Main St., Ste. 14, Wilkes-Barre
Enjoy grilled burgers & dogs, beverages and potluck at this football-themed fundraiser
County candidates will attend
Tickets: $10, Children under 6 attend for free
Call 208-4671
Friday, Oct. 2, 12:30 p.m. shotgun start
Inaugural Luzerne County GOP Golf Tournament
Blue Ridge Trail Golf Course, Mountaintop
Call 208-4671 for information on being a hole sponsor or entering a foursome in this major fundraiser of the year
Thursday, Oct. 8, 6:45- 9 p.m.
1st Annual Red Party Cocktail Bash
Hosted by the First District Republican Committee of Luzerne County
Valley Country Club, Sugarloaf
Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta will be honored
Cocktail attire, red and/or elephant-inspired
Enjoy red-themed drinks and food.
$85 per person/$150 per couple
For info: Sean Shamany, 454-7009, or http://us.mc455.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=sshamany@ptd.net
Tiffany Cloud, 788-4101, http://us.mc455.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=stormpolitics@gmail.com
Renita Fennick
Executive Director
Luzerne County Republican Party

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Took her home and nearly made it

The entire Beatles catalogue has been re-released. Yeah, I know. Seems like it’s been re-re-re-re-released or something. Stick with me, here.

Anyway, this time around, all of their original recordings have been re-mastered and remixed. You can grab a monstrous boxed set of the whole shebang, or buy the original albums piecemeal.

On Sue Henry’s WILK talk radio show yesterday, she asked of her listeners which of the Beatles original albums would they buy if they were limited to buying one and only one. And without hesitation, I belted out, “Sergeant Pepper’s,” which got the folks doing yard work directly across the street eye-balling me over the tops of their glasses.

So today I wandered into my earthly version of heaven, Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound, flipped through the racks, and found myself unable to purchase only one. I know, I know. A clear lack of self-restraint on my part. Get in line, and then shoot me.

I left the store with Magical Mystery Tour, as well as Sergeant Pepper’s in hand, as well as a free Beatles lithograph. A surprisingly large one, I might add.

Predictably, I decided to start with Sergeant Pepper’s, and I also decided to kick things off with one of my absolute favorites, Lovely Rita. And before the first verse arrived, I was blown away by the introductory guitar lick followed by Paul’s whimsical and prolonged Ahs, and George and John’s perky backup vocals. And at 100 decibels or so, it was almost sonic. Soaring like it never did beforehand.

Blown away, man. I was blown away.

Hearing it like that reminded me of hearing it for the very first time as a kid on my step-dad’s Lafayette brand stereo components. At least, the excitement level reminded me of when I was a kid listening to a new Beatles LP on vinyl. Yeah, the nervous excitement. I remember that feeling. Actually, with the filth that passes as music today, I miss that nervous excitement. And I swear, the only thing missing was my mom yelling at me from downstairs to turn it down.

It’s 40 years later, and I’m still all agog over the magic that was. Oh, and still is.

If you’re a Beatles fan, you have to hear this to believe it.

Now, when are they going to re-master The Rutles?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

F.M. Kirby Center about to go “Exit, stage left?”

According to a source who spoke to me under the condition of anonymity, The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre is in financial dire straights. It was also made very clear to me just how dire things are, and I quote, “It (The Kirby Ctr.) might not make it through the winter.”

According to this person, the center’s ticket sales have dwindled to the point where 50% of the staff has already been dismissed. He said it’s been a case of, as the economy steadily trailed off, so did the ticket sales.

One exception on the upcoming schedule has been the brisk sales of tickets to see the November 8th Johnny Mathis concert. But other than that lone bright spot, things have been, and things continue to look bleak from a revenue stream standpoint.

I asked about the current availability of foundation grants, yearly stipends from municipalities and corporate sponsorships, that sort of stuff. I was told that, again, as the economy kept worsening over these past 18 months or so, those sorts of funds started disappearing, much like the ticket sales have.

I contacted a city official who told me that while Community Development funds have been committed to the Kirby in the past, given the current state of the economy and it’s negative effects on the city’s coffers, those funds will no longer be available to support the arts for the foreseeable future.

On a somewhat related aside, I asked whether or not the city was still making a yearly cash outlay to support the Osterhout library here in the city and I was told that that is still the case.

And there you have it. That’s what I was told.

Looks as if the members, the Westmoreland Club crowd are going to have to dig a little deeper into their bottomless pockets.

Meanwhile, down in Washington D.C., our blundering and plundering administration today announced tougher federal regulatory standards for food safety. In other words, they just made it even more expensive for some of this country’s largest employers to conduct their business.

While the economy sags further, and while Americans are worried more about the future of their jobs than they are the future of their health care, the federal government just put yet another financial hurdle in the way of the job-producing private sector. They say timing is everything, and this administration is to timing what the last passenger to make it to the Titanic before it pushed off was.

They just don’t get it, do they?

Enhanced food safety? If you can’t afford to eat, the safety of your food sources won’t matter all that much. They just don't frickin' get it.

It might be time to reach for the panic button.

From the e-mail inbox:

Luzerne County Republican Party will hold an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at its new headquarters, 41 S. Main St., next to Thai Thai.
The press is invited.

Renita Fennick
Executive Director
Luzerne County Republican Party

From the readers comments:

D.B. Echo has left a new comment on your post "My new toy": Geez. At YOUR age, I was expecting a different kind of scooter. Maybe a Jazzy, or a Hoveround...

Dude, thanks for providing one of those rare spitting-tea-on-the-monitor moments.

Cracked me up.


Monday, September 7, 2009

My new toy

Yep, I went and got me a Schwinn S-350 rechargable electric scooter.

I'll pause here so you can all enjoy a hearty chuckle at my expense. Go for it.


I took the thing for a 1.1 mile jaunt, and I have to tell you, I giggled my ball bearings off every inch of the way. This thing flat-out hauls ass. And then some.

Of course, at my age, both Wifey and my daughter Ebon said I looked like a jerk while riding the thing away from them. What's up with that? What's with chicks and it always having to be about appearances? And at this point in my life, why would looking like a jerk bother me now?

According to the manufacturers specifications, it'll go 24 miles on a single charge. And while it's top speed is listed as being 20-miles-per-hour, I'm here to tell you that it goes significantly faster than that when pointed straight downhill. Laughing my rusted ball bearings off, I tell you.

Anyway, old men aside, even though 4 of my 5 grandkids are too small to let it rip on this thing just yet, when they do grow into it, they are going to have a frickin' blast. And until then, I'll just have to keep making myself look like a jerk. A motorized jerk, that is.

Then again, if you keep following the lead of the clueless, bed-wetting climate change crowd, one of these "cars" just might be in your immediate future.

Gage Andrew, it seems as if the thing is all yours when next you visit Wilkes-Barre. The "blue bike" went and grew a motor. A very efficient motor, I might add.


The unintended consequences of...gulp...Oblahblahcare

Ever since the initial judicial scandal broke back in February, and then turned into an ever-widening wholesale corruption scandal, WILK’s Sue Henry has been rightfully reminding her listeners that, despite the growing numbers of arrests, arraignments, resignations and plea bargains, that good people do in fact work for the county government.

And as of today, I’m wondering if she is now prepared to identify that person for us.

Just wondering.

This latest news, that a longtime player in the local Democratic party, a housing authority member and a county jury commissioner went and got himself in trouble with the Feds is interesting, if not, downright frightening.

What is alleged is that he was doing his illegal and unethical deeds during 2009, while the growing county-wide scandal exploded into the headlines all around him. And for me, this suggests that one or two things are running underfoot, possibly both.

He’s either as dumb as a moss-covered stump, or the thinking in the local Democrat party is that despite all of these well-connected political players going down in flames at a record pace, the mindset is that this unfolding scandal will eventually blow over. Yeah, until it blows over, it’s standard operating procedure, as in…corruption, graft and bribes.

So pick your poison. Arrogance borne of a sense of entitlement? Or outright stupidity?

I’ll go with a smattering of both.

If there is a single registered voter in this county that does not believe we need a bloodless revolution right freaking now, I’d love to beat them. Oops, Freudian slip there.

I meant to say, I’d love to meet them.

This health care reform push has entered what can only be called a very dangerous phase. A scary phase, if you will.

As the largest pearl among Barack Oblahblah’s many so-called legislative pearls, this was suppose to happen as if by rote. What was it, write it and pass the final bill inside of a week? Rush it through while nobody is looking? Hurry up, hurry up?

Wasn’t that the, um...plan?

Well, now that the health care reform push has met with significant and vociferous resistance from Republicans, Independents and Democrats as well, now the party with the supposed filibuster-proof numerical majority is watching it’s polling numbers dropping like a wingless bird.

And since those mid-term elections are getting dangerously closer and closer, now the leadership of the Democrat party is making noise about passing a health care bill, any health care bill. Just pass something so as to save the asses of the Democrats when those mid-term votes come due. Make some concessions, kill a few Blue Dogs, blame the GOP, whatever it takes, just pass something and soon.

In other words, now you should be worried. Now you have something to fear. Now we’re seeing desperation coming from the left, and for the sake of political expediency (CYA), now they want a bill, any bill. And if they ram some ill-conceived and ill-prepared thing through so as to save a few incumbents, the unintended consequences of a fast-tracked, watered-down health care reform bill could be of disastrously biblical proportions.

Because, as well all know full well by now, whenever the Fedrule Govmint expedites anything of any great importance, the unintended consequences usually outweigh the greater good that may or may not be realized. And in this particular case, the unintended consequences of government mandated and government controlled health care reform may be disastrous. Yes, the unintended consequences of a fast-tracked Oblahblahcare package might just lead to the finanical ruination of this entire country.

My advice to you is to find the closest available fingernail and start chewing on it. But don’t chew it down to the bone unless you’re one of the, ahem…“more fortunate” folks who have health insurance.

Much like the inept administration that launched into this ridiculous morass, this thing was an ill-conceived boondoggle right from the get-go.

And it’s about to get even messier.

Getting back to this jury commissioner nonsense, don’t let anybody kid you about the responsibilities, er, the lack of responsibilities that accompany this known ghost job.

Earlier this year, while judges and judicial appointees were seemingly dropping like Cluster Flies in an insufferably hot attic, I was notified that my name had come up for jury duty. So I called the appropriate phone number and some disinterested-sounding lady answered the phone at the other end.

So I gave her this heart-rendering pitch about how serving on a jury would cause me some irreparable financial harm, when she abruptly interrupted me and told me how to get my name removed from the list. So I did, and I was.

And never once did I have to interact with any so-called jury commissioner, a make believe position that obviously needs to be eliminated.

What-effing-ever, man.

Anywho, I’m off to fantasy football land. I can only stand so much of this place, this La La Land of ours.


Meet Walter Griffith

Meet Walter Griffith
Candidate for Luzerne County Controller
Friday, Sept. 18, 6-9 p.m.
Tiffany Room, Ramada Hotel
Public Square, Downtown Wilkes-Barre
Donation: $25

It's your chance to meet the county's next controller and to hear why Walter Griffith is the only candidate who will do what a controller is supposed to do: KEEP AN EYE ON COUNTY SPENDING.

We need a watchdog under the dome -- and Walter Griffith is the man.

To make reservations, e-mail WalterGriffithJr@aol.com or call 735-5577 or 239-0025.

If you have more questions, please call headquarters at 208-4671 or e-mail luzernecountygop@gmail.com

This event is hosted by the Committee To Elect Walter Griffith

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Youtube memories

I happened upon this video...and then I sat here playing it over and over and over again.

Sandy Beach, Harveys Lake, July 1966.

In a nutshell, I was there. My image may not have been accidentally captured when all of this was videotaped, but I was there somewhere. I was there, at 7-plus years old, I was there.

And I have to say, that was my favorite place. That now defunct, torn down and grassed-over place still evokes some of my most favorite memories of being a clueless and worriless sprat. And that place--as the unverifiable legend goes--was where my mom and dad first hooked up.

If I die, know that other than being reincarnated as a brass pole in a stripper bar somewhere near here, what I want most out of the oft-promised afterlife is to fritter my days away--all over again--at Sandy Beach, Harveys Lake.

And as far as I'm concerned, one could do far worse than camping out in the U-shaped grove with my grandparents, doing the bidding of the overly generous and cantankerous land-owner Ben Rood, playing Bingo, swimming, sitting in front of all the cars lined up at the drive-in movie and spending one's weekend nights listening to Eddie Day & The Nightimers belting out some Turtle's tunes.

Me-oh-my, lucky guy is what I am...


Economics 101: We need jobs!

I realize that by stating I’ve been working a lot of late which makes it virtually impossible for me to even consider blogging…I’m inviting attack.

Yes, I’ve been deluged with work, I’ve been getting home later and, yes, I do have a great health care package. In other words, I am now a target. I am one of those deemed to be “more fortunate” than some others are. Actually, from what I’ve been reading, I am “more fortunate” than plenty of blue collar Americans. And who is calling me this? Why, the newest victim class. The “less fortunate.”

You know, it was one thing when the folks not overburdened with money, possessions and benefits went after the rich, just as they were taught to do by their intentionally misleading class warrior politicians. But things have now devolved to the point where average, hard-working people such as myself are being offered as examples of people who are, for lack of a better word, lucky.

And I want to be perfectly clear about this. Whether the Fedrule Govmint gives the “less fortunate” the (free?) health care plan they are clamoring for or not, I am far from being more fortunate, and even farther from being lucky. I have what I have because at every critical juncture throughout my misspent life, I have made some good decisions. I’ll not bore you with the many corroborating details, let’s just suffice it to say that I’m smart, I have multiple employable skills (not one) and I’m physically capable and then some, i.e., highly employable.

So, if there’s something you want, or something you feel you desperately need, do not be so completely stupid as to consider me one of life’s winners via a lucky rabbit’s foot. Because to do so is more insulting to me than you could ever imagine. Borderline fightin’ words, them is.

All of which is a reaction, but not a direct response to something I read this morning at The Snap Lac Political Letter.

Well, I suppose it is a direct response to Dave's outburst, but it’s meant less as a response to Dave as it is a response to an unresponsive, out-of-control government.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To all of those right wing Republican loudmouths who have their health care, have their singular decent jobs and say people like the single mom/student I talked to should work harder and pull themselves up by their bootstraps, I say GO F**K YOURSELF with a jagged object.

Dave, Dave, Dave! Wowie zowie!

Don't be going all 'town hall' on us, buddy.

David, I’m shocked. Honestly, I'm concerned. The foul language is way out of character for you, and I was stunned to find it at your site. I can’t say I’m offended, but I would like to try being offended for once. Hell, man! Everybody else is doing it, going out of their way to be offended by practically everything they see, hear, feel or touch.

Honestly, I used to be like that. I used to demonstratively say that people should do as I had once done, that people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps (whatever those are). Follow the logic.

While mine is no compelling success story worthy of a Time magazine cover, I did escape the breeding ground for convicted criminals, a career in welfare and premature death completely unscathed. Basically, I started at the bottom and worked my way up into the middle there somewhere. And the ascent began when the government provided me with some free schooling after I also escaped high school somewhat intact. Yes, I escaped poverty, and I’ve had nothing but good jobs and good benefits ever since.

But before we go lashing out at hardscrabble, average folks who lean to the right, I think we need to realize what the biggest difference is between then and now, the biggest difference between America in 1979 and Amerika is 2009.

As far as I’m concerned, the difference is that, 30 years ago, good-paying jobs were much more plentiful than they are now. 30 years ago, that woman that Dave interviewed would have probably gotten by by working a full-time job and possibly a part-time job. And she might even have had access to some basic, rudimentary benefits.

But in this era of free trade agreements, with our manufacturing base having been systematically destroyed, and with illegal aliens filling an estimated 10 million construction jobs, employment opportunities of the well-paying, well-compensating variety are few and far between. In my opinion, herein lies the heart of our problems. If we all had good jobs, this health care debate would either not be taking place, or it would be much, much less of a problem and for a far smaller segment of the population. If we all had good jobs, the rest of it would probably fall into line.

Sadly, these days, people are reduced to working jobs they would have never, ever even considered taking just a few years ago. Sadly, people are forced to work, two, three, even four jobs when one or two would have done nicely just a decade ago. And until those 535 jackasses-plus two in Washington D.C. get this through their fat, delusional heads, the middle class will continue to work harder and harder and longer and longer while it continues to slide into the abyss that is poverty.

I have been a restaurant manager, a warehouse manager, a CDL truck driver and a pest control professional specializing in termites. I did a lengthy stint as a shirt and tie management type, but I eventually came to the inescapable conclusion (at least for me) that it’s better to be a grunt. But no matter what job I had at any given time, in management or otherwise, the local, state and especially the federal government made it harder to profitably operate any of those businesses every step of the way.

And if I got into making lengthy supportive arguments for that claim, this circumlocution of mine would likely encompass all of 20,000 words. And nobody wants that.

This is my opinion of what’s at work here. The federal government stands in the way of industry at every available turn, and then it opines at great length as to how best create untold numbers of lucrative jobs for Americans. It’s a bad joke, and it isn’t funny. Namely, it’s an unending circle-jerk.

Our current crop of “leaders” have incrementally made villains of all of this country’s last-remaining industries in the eyes of average folks who want only to earn a decent living and enjoy a mostly nondescript life. They are teaching us to hate the hand that could possibly feed us, if only the government would allow it to. Trust me, not a single American capable of cognizant thought would be bitching about what their CEO made last year if they were happy with their job, happy with their pay and content with their benefits. You know, satisfied with their lives.

I liken this to being a restaurant manager. Everything starts with sales. You need sales. You need to drive sales. Costs can be controlled. But without sales, everything becomes harder and harder to control. Every little expense becomes critical and ill-wanted. But with sales on the plus side versus last year, everything becomes a bit more doable. And with sales booming, life is good from the manager’s standpoint. Oh, and good for the employees, too.

Now, if we all had good jobs, sales if you will, every aspect of our lives would be easier to control. We could afford health care and what have you. But without earnings (see sales), every little expense becomes critical and ill-wanted. And the big expenses become real crushers. Real game-changers.

In my opinion, this government health care talk is another glaring example of Washington D.C. trying yet again to fix a problem it alone created. By way of it’s own policies, it allowed our jobs to wither and die on the vine, and all of the needed benefits that came with them. And now, lo and behold, here comes the government and…get this...it’s here to help.

And while all of this class envy stuff is being further whipped up, and while Americans have been duped into thinking that “big” industry is evil and bad and not trustworthy like the government is, I’ll stick with the principle that has guided most of everything I have done throughout my working life: If it’s good for my employer, it’s probably good for me.

Anyway, I think what Americans need by the boatload is good jobs that reasonably compensate hard-working, dedicated people. And while we spend all of this time and effort on arguing how best to acquire what we can ill-afford…health care, we’d all be better served by demanding that our flailing government get out of the way of job creation, and stop taxing every available dollar out of our economy.

It’s simple. And god knows, I like simplicity. Jobs first, health care second.

And them’s my thoughts on Economics 101.

We need jobs, you 535-plus two jackasses!


Editor’s note: Dave, give me a buzz on the cell thingy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This just in...

Luzerne County GOP is doing some wishful thinking via snail mail:
The Hon. Edward G. Rendell
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA 17120
Sept. 2, 2009
Dear Gov. Rendell:

The Republican Party of Luzerne County respectfully asks that you call a special election as soon as possible to fill a recently created vacancy in the Luzerne County Sheriff’s office.

Former Sheriff Michael Savokinas resigned on Sept. 1, 2009, 20 months into a four-year term.
As you may know, the good citizens of Luzerne County are faced with constant unrest and instability in county government with the ongoing investigations into corruption at all levels, from the county judiciary to school districts and government authorities.

We ask that you act swiftly in scheduling a special election to fill this vacancy. With the current political climate and the growing mistrust and disappointment in county government, it is crucial that the position of Luzerne County Sheriff be filled by a duly elected individual. Luzerne County residents deserve to be the ones who determine who will fill that crucial position.

Ideally, we ask that you call a special election so that the position may be placed on the ballot for the Nov. 3 election.
Terry Casey, Chairman

Allow me to get this straight.

The Governor of Pennsylvania, a loyal party hack, is going to give the Luzerne County GOP a 50/50 shot at winning this seat?

Yeah, and pigs can fly C-130s!

Sept. 2, 2009

WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County Republican Party Chairman Terry Casey is calling on Gov. Ed Rendell to hold a special election as soon as possible to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Sheriff Michael Savokinas.

Savokinas abruptly resigned his position on Tuesday with 28 months remaining in his four-year term for the county row office.

Casey pointed to the ongoing "unrest and instability" in county government as a reason for the governor to act swiftly.

"With the current political climate and the growing mistrust and disappointment in county government, it is crucial that the position of Luzerne County Sheriff be filled by a duly elected individual," Casey said. "Luzerne County residents deserve to be the ones who determine who will fill that crucial position."

Casey said he hopes the governor renders a decision soon and would like to see the position placed on the ballot for the Nov. 3 election.

"It doesn’t seem right that a resigning official should be the one to determine who runs the sheriff’s office," Casey said. "I also do not think the governor should name an interim sheriff to fill the rest of the term. As long as this position is an elected one, it is only right that the people have a say in who fills it."

Contact: Renita Fennick


So, which loyal LUzerne County Democrat receives the Gov's nod?