Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It must be me

The White House trying to dictate who's a news organization. Democrats out to gut a business group. Obama media allies damning Americans as racist, unpatriotic and treasonous. Is this the America Obama promised when he campaigned to end the cynical and divisive politics of the past?--Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times

There. I did it. I went and posted something. Despite the best efforts of our elected politicians, I have been working too much. Way too much. And with that said, that’s a fact, not whining on my part.

I went and used a personal day for today. I went and got me a three-day weekend I needed to do nothing of note and recharge. Fantasy football and not much else, thank you very much.

Let’s see here, I’ve received 36 ‘friend’ requests from Facebook users since late Sunday night, not a one of which I know. I’m not sure what’s afoot there, but people need to know going in that I rarely, if ever, post anything there. Here’s the scoop on my joining Facebook.

After some Herculean efforts on both mine and my daughter’s part, this is what we learned of my father’s exploits since 1962: He was separated from and eventually divorced from his second (?) wife in 1982. And it’s suspected that he than relocated to the Seattle area to work for an aerospace giant. That’s it. That’s all of it.

So, I was advised that by joining Facebook, I could further my reach on the internet and possibly connect with people that may have come to be related to or acquaintances of my father since early 1962; ex wives, ex girlfriends, co-workers, children, step-children, who knows? Who knows what's gone on during the 46 years since last I laid eyes on my father?

That’s about all I hoped to get, or glean, from Facebook. Personally, I think these networking sites are lame at best, and effeminate (politically correct word) at worst.

And with that, if you must, you can now rescind all of those friend requests unless you happen to be my father’s offspring. Sorry and all, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to meet one’s father just once as an adult.

What else? Um, my daughter Ebon tripped on the steps and fractured her left foot. Fourth metatarsal. Figure that one out. She’s put in a few thousand hours practicing and playing and coaching volleyball, softball and baseball at the youth league, high school and college levels without suffering a scratch. But the yearning for a bottle of soda pop put her on the disabled list.

Major kudos to both Gort and Dave for their excellent coverage of the local political races.

You know, the self-enamored Steve Corbetts of the world can badmouth polibloggers all they want. But it’s safe to say that in the last month, both Dave and Gort have put more effort into exploring the local races as any local radio talk show host has. We sit in our underwear at a computer, and they sit in their underwear at a microphone. If there’s a difference there, a distinction, I fail to see it.

Rather than sniping at blogs and bloggers, why not just see them as what they are: just another informational piece of the overall puzzle. Rather than accepting know-it-all Corbett’s word for everything, read the papers, listen to talk radio and then explore a few local blogs. Get a sprinkling of all of it and then get on out there and vote "like a champion," whatever that means.

I heard an ad on WILK paid for by the Wil Toole bunch, in which a reference was made to “inexperienced republicans,” i.e., Walter Griffith. What kind of insufferable malarkey is that? That'd be laughable if it wasn't so infuriatingly dolt-like.

What? Are inexperienced republicans somehow inherently inferior to indicted democrats? Or in Wil Toole’s case, are inexperienced republicans somehow inherently inferior to recycled democrats? Further, are inexperienced republicans less electable than recycled democrats backed by a bevy of well-known recycled democrats?

If Toole is an independent, I’m a retired NFL strong safety.

“Why not write about that?” Okay, I’ll bite.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "PNC ethics code questions":

It has been a very very long time since I read your blog.... and can I ask you.........seriously?... are you crazy?... I don't know Bob personally, and I may or may not vote for him on election day... but I was at the debate this past monday (I may have been the only non walter griffith plant in the audience), and I will say he gave a very clear answer on this issue... In fact, it doesn't take a brilliant person to realize the work he does has nothing to do with what you mentioned... The man handles peoples money as an INVESTOR... As I said, I may or may not vote for him... maybe Will Toole, but it is incredibly clear to me that you just took this talking point from Walter Griffith... If you were at the debate you would have realize how lame this is and removed this post from your usually enjoyable blog... Either Bob.. Or Wil... But no chance of Griffth and his nonsense...

P.S. He actually said you don't need to know about finance to be controller.... Why not write about that?

Posted by Anonymous to Circumlocution for Dummies at October 28, 2009 6:56 PM

You don’t need to know about finance to be controller? He actually said that? Allah H. Christ! Somebody ought to skull that freakin' hammerhead! What was he thinking?

While that was obviously a poor choice of words on his part, judging by recent history, his point was spot-on accurate. Deadly accurate, in fact.

What have we had of late? A.J. Martinelli, Maryanne Petrilla, Steve Flood, Tom Pizano and that’s all I can recall off of the top of my pointy little head. Oh, and the democrats really pushed long and hard to have Andy Reilly elected to that position. Andy Reilly, the then mayor of a plot of land too small to qualify as an acre.

Now tell me, have any of those aforementioned people ever worked on Wall Street? Are there many financial geniuses in that motley bunch? Methinks not.

With the exception of Steve Flood, the thing those people have in common is that while they were the controller, the county continued to bleed red ink while taking on more outstanding debts. And we’re talking untold tens of millions in red ink and outstanding debts. It seems to me that there hasn’t been much controlling going on.

And while that was happening with nary a protest, red flag, or forensic audit from any controller sans Steve Flood, evidenced by the still ongoing FBI corruption probes, too-numerous-to-list elected and appointed officials were fleecing the taxpayers every which way they could.

Again, Walter’s point was spot-on. As our recent past clearly demonstrates, you need not know about finances to be the county controller. What you need to know is how to look the other way, sit on your hands and zip your lip.

The man handles peoples money as an INVESTOR...

Nothing against Bob Morgan, but the only people getting rich off of our investments are the insider people playing the investment game. Do this, do that, and by the time you reach retirement age, you’ll be a millionaire living abroad in a country where having five underage teenaged wives is not illegal. Isn’t that the picture they’ve been painting all along? The oodles and oodles of money, the ice-cold Corona, the beach and the topless girls rubbing your, um, feet?
And how’s that working out so far? These so-called investors are the people pulling down the big bucks, not us. And due to the clear lack of needed oversight, going forward, I see stocks and investments in general as one giant shell game, if not, an outright con game at times.

You want to plan for your eventual retirement? Map out the nearest Salvation Army thrift store and grab the appropriate bus schedule. Done.

Here’s my investment tip, absolutely free of course.

In a perilously uncertain world flush with the latest in high-tech weaponry, invest in defense contractors here and abroad. Run that by Bob Morgan and get back to me on that.

Here’s the scoop on Walter.

Does he misspeak? Yeah, he’s done that on occasion. Missteps? I guess. Is he ugly? Perhaps a little. Have I butted heads with him in the past? Sure have. And most of that can be attributed to his penchant for seeing every dollar spent as an expense. Where he saw expenses, I sometimes saw necessary investments in our future as a city. But the greater point is, the relentless SOB questions everything.

So, assuming he wins next Tuesday, shutters his business and becomes a fulltime controller, having him questioning everything is a bad thing in a county going down the drain financially? That’s a bad thing?

And if we believe the persistent rumors to be true, that the courthouse is nothing more than an uncontrolled petty cash fund for the well-connected, their inept friends and their under performing relatives, I can think of no better monkey wrench (pun intended) to throw in there than Walter Griffith.

He may have warts and all, but he’s the true independent in this race, beholding to no one. And that’s why Morgan and Toole have tag teamed him every step of the way since the election season first started to heat up. Because he’s the one candidate the long-entrenched democrats fear the most. With the FBI breathing down very many of their sweaty backs, the very last thing they need at this moment is somebody sifting through those dusty books piled in the bowels of the courthouse basement.

Am I crazy?

Well, I would not bet against it. But my suspected descent into insanity has nothing to do with who I intend to vote for very early next Tuesday morning.

You can vote for the smart-ass who claims to be smart. You can vote for the recycled democrat posing as an independent reformer. Or you can vote for the “pain-in-the-ass” wild card.

And guess what? I didn’t need to attend any meet-the-candidate forums to follow that. I didn't need to see two democrats looking for every opportunity to dispatch with the upstart republican.
I didn't need to watch the two status quo candidates making like pit bulls.

And to Bob Morgan...what’s up with that ridiculous commercial of yours?

We wouldn’t “hire a mechanic to…” (???)

Really? In the county that hired an offensive lineman and a polka queen to help run the county into the financial abyss, a mechanic is an unthinkable choice?

A successful small businessman is a joke? And this comes from a guy who creates imaginery money on paper, imaginery money that instantly disappears with every unpredictable ebb and flow of the easily manipulated financial world?

The guy that provides a valuable service with easily measurable results is belittled by the guy who delivers wait-and-see, often pie-in-the-sky, maybe/maybe not, 'but keep sending those checks' possibilities that may go up in smoke the very next time George Soros decides to manipulate a currency or a banking system?

It must be me.

Time to scout the fantasy injury updates.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Courthouse security

The security at the courthouse, or in this case, the clear lack thereof, keeps coming up on WILK.

And while I’ve listened to the theories, the anecdotal stories and the rampant speculation, I will now provide you with a first-person account of the lapse security at the courthouse from the perspective of a vendor.

Oh, and for the folks that think big, bigger and still bigger government has all of the answers, please know that this exercise is an eye-opening account of the difference between the private and public sectors. Glad I could help learn you damn fool, dependant folk.

Private sector security

I recently serviced a local distribution center, which encompasses all of one and a half million interior square feet. As for the exterior, well, the entire property is larger than most municipalities currently treading wave after wave of red ink in this backwards county.

Upon arrival, I waited in line behind many big rigs at what looks like a toll plaza. And when my turn at the window came, I was asked to provide either a verifiable purchase order number or a work order number, as well as proper identification. After supplying as much, my truck number and license plate number were both logged.

At that point the security officer inquired as to exactly what I was going to be doing. And when I told him that my duties were entirely of the exterior perimeter nature, he told me not to attempt to enter the massive structure through any of the many man-doors, not to exceed the posted speed limits and to report to and pass through this same security portal before the focus of my visit transitioned from the exterior to the interior perimeter version of my visit.

And when I completed my tasks on the exterior, I returned to said poll plaza and was instructed where to go to gain access to the interior of the facility. And after a half-mile ride, I arrived at the exact other end of the facility, this time, at the main entrance.

After I parked my truck, a security officer appeared and told me without explanation to move the truck away from the structure, to only what could be called the rear section of the gigantic parking lot. And when I ventured inside with two service containers, one open and one closed, I encountered what I saw as the obligatory metal detector/wand station. After again providing proper identification and logging in, I was asked if I had any metal objects on my person. In response, I smiled and gave a hearty, oh yeah.

So the security guy started putting smallish plastic baskets on the countertop and told me to place any and all metal items in said baskets. And when I reminded him that I was literally loaded with metal items, he pointed to the baskets. So, out came the metal items from the service containers. And then he asked about the contents of my pockets, as well as the tools attached to my belt. Out they came, off they came and into the baskets they went.

And after I passed through the metal detector with nary a bell or whistle going off, I had to wait for the guy to finish his visual inspection of the tools of my trade. When he was satisfied with that, I was allowed to retool and told to wait for the facilities management contact to come out and meet me. A wait that reached just about a half hour.

Meanwhile, both on the exterior and now the interior of the building, it was painfully obvious judging by the copious amounts of security cameras that if I had sneezed, somebody would have known about it.

After completing the interior leg of the service, I made my way back to that security checkpoint to disembark, and I had to repeat the same steps to make my escape. But this time, the security folks were making sure that I had only what I carried in contained within those work containers of mine as I was trying to exit the building.

With all of that said, these people are used to seeing our people. We are contracted to be there on a monthly basis, sometimes more often, and those security people are used to seeing our logo.

Public sector security

This is what I encountered the last time I had to provide services at the Luzerne County courthouse. Or should I say, every time I ever visited the courthouse as a contracted vendor.
I pulled into the rear ground lot and parked amongst the Sheriff’s Department vehicles. The security guard at the exterior guard shack stuck his head out of the door and made some predictable crack about killing six-foot high bugs (his coworkers) that I have heard approximately 300,000 times before.

Ha, ha, ha.

After being buzzed through the supposedly secure rear entrance, the two posted security guards at the metal detector/wand station recognized the logos on my uniform, my ball cap and what have you and waived me around the entire shebang. Not through it, around it.

No proper identification, no purchase order number, no work order number, nothing. No escort, no explanation, no expectations, no direction, no protocols, no nothing. Nope, I was free to roam wherever I wanted to, I know my way around and under that building very well and roam I did. And when the roaming was done, I again bypassed the security station with a wave and a goodbye while on my way out of the building.

And there you have it, the stark difference between a real, private sector security system and the pretend security paid for with your tax dollars. The private sector protects it’s assets and employees, while the public sector goes through the motions.

Now, it’s needs to be noted that I am not some crazy looking to stab anyone, shoot anyone or worse at our courthouse. Then again, I was able to gain unfettered access to the building with plenty of tools contained within my service vessels, including two knives of greatly varied lengths, a multi-tooled Leatherman, a 24-inch long screwdriver, a Maglite powered by 8 D batteries (heavyweight baton?), a Streamlite Stinger Ultra (lightweight baton?) as well as untold amounts of pesticides and rodenticides.

And in this age of terrorism, domestic and otherwise, short of radiological, there is no more effective dirty bomb than a dirty bomb heavily laden with pesticides.

Security at the courthouse?

Yeah! Right!



Sunday, October 18, 2009

Luzerne County: No more gypsies, tramps and thieves

I feel the need to respond to the following…

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "PA GOP to Petrilla: F-U!":

Hard to argue with?

Here's a laughable claim: "... Tina Gartley, a candidate who has been hand-picked by the entrenched Luzerne County Democrat machine to help them maintain the culture of corruption in Luzerne County." Hand picked? Perhaps someone should inform Mr. "Barley-knows-what-he's- talking-about" in Harrisburg just how little support Tina Polachek Gartley has received from the "machine." She'll win on November 3 in spite of the Dem establishment, not because of it...

Posted by Anonymous to Circumlocution for Dummies at October 17, 2009 8:20 PM

Actually, I kind of goofed on that one. My point was that it was hard to argue with the very pointed comments sent Maryanne Petrilla’s way. I have no beef with Gartley, nor do I think she’s a part of any establishment, any political machine or what have you.

Although, now that’s it’s been proven that corruption and greed is apparently a way of life for the long-entrenched Luzerne County democrats, I think that party needs to be unequivocally rebuked on November 3rd, newcomers and all.

From the e-mail inbox:

Really like your blog and the events you post on it to meet the canidates. With all the corruption going on in luz county you just dont know where to turn anymore. Im just sick of seeing all these corrupt people getting arrested in our town and you know other ones know what was going on but just dont want to say so.

Looking at newspapers and reading blogs u tend to read the names of the people in politics around here which is not a very good thing. One name that I kept seeing was ed mitchell but i never knew who he was until i saw his name in the paper as a spokesmen for the corrupt kanjorski. i then saw his name as a spokesman for the questionable mellow as well. How could someone work for both guys at the same time. I checked his internet site and saw the list of his clients jack murtha who has questions surrounding him and kanjorski. then looked further down and saw names that just shocked me on campaigns he worked for conahan and civarella judge campaigns and another very photogenic judge olwzeski. the only other person with questions marks surrounding him that he did not represent was chuck rangel but i did see something that braught questions marks to it. its funny.


Mitchell is NEPA’s preeminent electoral kingmaker, but it’s become obvious of late that it’s getting harder and harder for him to deliver the landslides he was once known for. I think it’s a bit of candidate fatigue, as in, the same old guys are always running for reelection, many of which are carrying political baggage of their own.

Mitchell’s usual tactics are far from being issue oriented. Rather, he’s good at focusing the attention of the voters on some misrepresented bullspit via the 30-second sound byte. He knows how to make mud stick.

Personally, I think he’s overrated when you consider that he always has access to some overstuffed campaign war chests when he gets to working his, ahem, magic. If you pay me a million dollars to get an entrenched incumbent reelected over some relatively little-known challenger, I’m confident I could get the job done.

Stay in touch.

Yes, Nancy, I caught Kevin Lynn’s comment on Thursday, some sophomoric crack about Wilkes-Barre being or resembling a “hooker parade.” Yuk, yuk, yuk.

And, no, it didn’t bother me in the least. You know, when you consider the source and all. This is the guy who openly admits to befriending two admitted criminals, one of which will likely go down as one of the most corrupt judges in the history of the country.

And this is the guy who still clings to ridiculously niggling minutiae as some sort of demented proof that his disgraced judge buddy is not nearly as bad as he seems to those of us who are still completely horrified by the repeated miscarriages of justice at his hands.

As for myself, I’d prefer the hookers to Kevin’s friends and acquaintances.

Kids for cash, Kevin.

Yuk it up.

Way back when, we voted no to a referendum question asking whether or not the county should construct and manage an arena. And as a result of that vote, a consortium of folks then financed and built an arena without the county’s involvement.

Many have said since that vote that WILK’s Fred Williams, who lobbied long and hard against that proposed project, is personally responsible for the downsizing of the original plan, which resulted in a loss of 4,000 seats at the arena on the hill. I’ve heard it repeated many times that if it weren’t for mean old Fred Williams, we’d have a 12,000 seat arena, not an 8,000 seat arena.

Whether all of that could be blamed on one man on the radio is not what I wish to explore today. Instead, I’m wondering what would have come about if the original plan was not voted down by the voters.

What if…what if the county actually financed, built and managed the 12,000 seat arena? What if the county commissioners appointed an arena authority to oversee the day-to-day operations of said arena? What if?

How high might the cost overruns of the construction of the project have gone? And how many undeserving political appointees would be in charge of the thing? And how many of their hapless relatives would be working there? How deep in the red would the arena be? And how many arrests of those arena authority board members might have already taken place this year?

I hate to say it, but that original vote, that “no” vote was the correct vote.

And soon enough we’ll be faced with another referendum question concerning whether or not to go the way of home rule in Luzerne County.

And based on the fact that our elected and appointed officials cannot be trusted to do the right thing, being that the county code offers us no real possibility of accountability or transparency, the correct vote this time will be the “yes” vote. Vote yes to the home rule question.

The final draft of the proposed home rule charter in Luzerne County that should be forthcoming from our Government Study Commission may contain a few warts, but it’s got to be significantly better than being recognized as the relaxed sphincter of the entire country.

Face it, the time for home rule in Luzerne County has arrived. It’s time to do away with the rampant nepotism, the rampant cronyism, the rampant thievery and the gross mismanagement of our tax dollars. No more gypsies, tramps and thieves posing as government.

You have the power at your fingertips. So do it.

And with that, I’m off to fantasy football land. How's this for a paradox?

I love my New York Football Giants. And today they are facing the undefeated New Orleans Saints. But in fantasy land, my quarterback is none other than Drew Brees, the Saints' starting robo-quarterback. So I'm reduced to praying that my beloved Jints cough up 40 or more points, 500 yards or so of offense, while still managing to win the game.



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Is Mayor Tom Leighton a lame duck?

There is no denying that I was completely blindsided by the breaking news this morning that Wilkes-Barre City Administrator J.J. Murphy has decided to move on to, ahem, greener pastures.

But after talking with him early this most gloomy of afternoons, I think I know what’s really afoot far beyond, a couple of years beyond his surprising decision to resign his position at this point in time.

I snagged the following from the Times Leader:

Administrator to leave W-B City Hall post
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the administration,” he said.

Leighton did not return calls Friday evening.

Murphy said he is leaving because he is missing spending time with his four daughters with the demands of his city position. His daughters are ages 9, 8, 5 and 4.

“I’m doing it so I can spend time with my four girls,” said Murphy, 38. “I’m gone before they get up in the morning and many times they’re in bed before I get home.”

Murphy was a driving force in establishing the city’s surveillance-camera system. Part of the system is to be activated next month.

He is the second to leave the Leighton administration within a month.

Former city administrative coordinator Bridget Giunta left her post Sept. 30 to accept a position as associate director of alumni relations at Wilkes University.

On Oct. 2 Leighton asked the FBI to look into the conduct of a city employee.

First of all, let us address the ongoing F.B.I. Investigation, shall we?

With a bit of surefire, paper-selling yellow journalism, we were told by the Citizens’ Voice that the mayor requested that the F.B.I. investigate potential wrongdoing by a city employee. And splashed all over Page 1 on that day were the pictures of both Frank Kratz and Butch Frati, with the purposeful suggestion being that they were both under investigation by the federal authorities.

In fact, while both Kratz and Frati did indeed “talk” to the feds, they were not the subject of intense federal scrutiny. Rather, they were merely a means to a potential prosecutorial end of another yet-to-be-named city employee. They were not the targets of the investigation.

As part of J.J.’s exit interview with a Times Leader reporter just yesterday, he was asked point blank if this decision on his part had anything to do with any sort of federal probe into any alleged wrongdoing by city employees. And his response was already published, no, he’s got his own reasons for moving on.

But during our conversation this afternoon, he also told me that a current city council person (gender neutral nonsense) warned him that it’s best to “leave now on your own terms or in two years on someone else’s terms.” And it should be told that this particular city council person (more gender neutral claptrap) has been rumored and then some to having some serious mayoral ambitions.

So this is where I’m at with all of this.

First, Bridget Giunta announces that she’s moving on. And less than a month later, J.J. Murphy does likewise. And that not-so-veiled threat from a city council person (Argh!) suggests to me that J.J.’s future employment with the city beyond two years was contingent upon the mayor staying put past his current term.

And with all of that said, whether he’s announced his future intentions or not, I am now assuming that Mayor Tom Leighton has decided to become our lame duck mayor. I’m assuming that he’s had his fill of leaving his home when it’s dark, returning home when it’s dark, and being criticized to no end by the clueless folks with thoroughly dulled axes to grind.

And if that is his unstated decision, to step down and get on with his life, I can’t say I blame him. While the rewards of being Wilkes-Barre’s closest thing to a savior must be satisfying, the long hours, the nonstop scrutiny and the unsubstantiated criticisms have to weigh very heavy on him at times.

And if I’m reading this right, if Tom Leighton has already decided not to seek another term, in my mind, this is a sad, sad day for Wilkes-Barre. Whether you want to admit it or not, Tom Leighton has been very good for Wilkes-Barre.

Time will tell.


Friday, October 16, 2009

PA GOP to Petrilla: F-U!

October 16, 2009 Contact: Michael Barley
For Immediate Release (717) 234-4901

PA GOP: Luzerne County Dems Up To Same Old TricksLuzerne County Commissioner

Maryanne Petrilla Working To Rig Election For Corrupt Democrat Machine

HARRISBURG – Republican Party of Pennsylvania Spokesman Michael Barley questioned Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla’s recent actions and comments regarding Luzerne County’s attempts to rig the election for the corrupt Democrat Party and its candidates on November 3rd.

“It’s no surprise that Commissioner Petrilla is willing to protect the entrenched Democrat machine in Luzerne County,” Barley said. “This is the same former Democrat Controller who failed to raise any red flags regarding the web of corruption that has surrounded the Luzerne County government. It was, after all, under Maryanne Petrilla’s watch that debit cards were being misused and no-bid contracts were being handed out as political favors. Frankly, her inability to report these glaring problems with our county government while serving as an elected official make her incompetent at best.

“Like the rest of the Democrat leaders, it seems that Maryanne Petrilla would rather ‘play along to get along’ then put actually serve the people of Luzerne County. Just look at how cozy Maryanne Petrilla is with Tina Gartley, a candidate who has been hand-picked by the entrenched Luzerne County Democrat machine to help them maintain the culture of corruption in Luzerne County.

“It’s time for Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla and the rest of the Democrat cronies to finally accept responsibility for their questionable actions.”

# # #

Michael Barley
Communications and Technology Department Director
Republican Party of Pennsylvania
Phone: (717) 234-4901 ext.115

Editor's note: Um, it's hard to argue with any of that. Petrilla is the former do-nothing, eyes-rolled-back county controller turned majority commissioner chairman feigning concern now that it's her legacy (ass) on the line. In addition, she's now gone party first/county second on us.

I say kill 'em all (politically) and let Bufalino sort 'em out.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Local GOP events

Saturday, Oct. 17, 9-11:30 a.m.
Hanover Township GOP Breakfast
Wyoming Valley Country Club
Tickets: $20

Saturday, Oct. 17, 7-11 p.m.
Oktoberfest Dance
Hosted by the Republican Committee of Harveys Lake
Benjamin Harvey Inn (Lakeside Skillet, 1 mile from Grotto Pizza)
Tickets: $30
Includes buffet dinner, beer, soda and music for dancing
Info: Clarence Hogan at 570-793-5187 or hoganclarence@yahoo.com

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6-8 p.m.
Meet & Greet Hazleton City Council Candidates Karin Cabell & Jim Perry
Elks Lodge, 635 E. Broad St., Hazleton
Tickets: $40 includes food and refreshments
Sponsored by Southern Luzerne Political Action Committee

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6 p.m.
Meet the County Candidates
Melroe’s Restaurant
832 Salem Blvd., Salem Twp. (near Berwick)

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6-8 p.m.
Cocktail Party for Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty
Kazimi’s Restaurant, Kingston
Donation: $100

Thursday, Oct. 29, 6-9 p.m.
Polka Party With Dick Hughes
Candidate for Luzerne County Judge
Genetti’s, 77 E. Market St., Downtown Wilkes-Barre
Featuring Stanky & The Coal Miners
Tickets: $20
Includes food & beverages
RSVP tonifkennedy@live.com or call 570-574-7451
Make checks payable to Committee To Elect Richard Hughes Judge

Friday, Oct. 30, 6-10 p.m.
Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Hall, Watson Street, Wilkes-Barre Township
Come on out for food & drink and launch the 72-hour effort that will bring home victory for our Republican slate.

All county candidates will be on hand to speak to the crowd and to motivate us to spend the next few days on the phones, knocking on doors and working the polls to BRING IT HOME!
Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta will lead the pep rally!
Tickets: $10 includes pizza, hot dogs, beer and soda

Sunday, Nov. 1, 6-10 p.m.
Wilkes-Barre Township GOP Rally
Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Hall, Watson Street, Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Tickets: $5 each
Renita Fennick
Executive Director
Luzerne County Republican Party

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PNC ethics code questions

I’ve got a couple of questions for Luzerne County Controller candidate Bob Morgan, who happens to be employed by PNC Bank as a financial advisor.

From the PNC Ethics Code:

Political Involvement

Each of us has the right to voluntarily participate in the political process.However, due to complex requirements that vary from state to state and thatmay differ depending on local jurisdiction, there are specific guidelines forpre-approval before contributions may be made and before a decision is madeto campaign for or accept public office.

Holding or Campaigning for Political /Public Office

Campaigning, holding a public office, or running for re-election requiresprior approval from the Corporate Ethics Office. This is necessary because of the complexity of relevant laws and regulations. For example, occupying agovernmental position (whether elected or not), may trigger conflict of interest laws, which in some jurisdictions may prohibit PNC from engaging in business with that jurisdiction.

In all cases, when a PNC employee campaigns for or seeks appointment toa public office or serves as a member of a candidate’s political campaigncommittee, an employee does so as an individual and not at the request of or as a representative of PNC.

Here’s the first question. Since PNC Bank currently holds title to bonds floated by Luzerne County, how is it not a conflict of interest to have the Luzerne County controller also working at said bank? And with the county bleeding red ink like the recent user of a bomb vest, would the county also not be on the market soon for even more bonds?

In addition, since, as controller, Morgan would also be seated on the Retirement Board, would he then have to recuse himself whenever decisions needed to be made about how and where to best invest?

Here’s another excerpt from the PNC Ethics Code:

Outside EmploymentOther Employment, including self-employment, generally is permitted and doesnot require prior approval from the Corporate Ethics Office provided that the Other Employment does not:

*Interfere with your PNC job responsibilities or schedule.
*Create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.
*Result in competition with any of PNC’s business activities, including offering similar products or services.
*Involve using PNC property or using the time of other PNC employees during working hours.
*Involve actively soliciting PNC customers or PNC employees while working at PNC.
*Involve preparation, audit, or certification of documents pertaining to PNC business.

Since Mr. Morgan is already on the record as saying, again, if elected, he would not resign from his position at PNC, being a full-time controller would obviously interfere with his PNC job responsibilities or schedule.

So, if elected, the possibility for multiple conflicts of interest with PNC’s ethics codes exist. If elected and still an employee of PNC, he would not be a full-time controller available during what could only be called normal business hours. And as all of this pertains to the retirement board, he would be limited if not completely eviserated in that capacity.

So, with all of that said, why is he running for controller?

Is the fix in? Is the persistent rumor true?

If Morgan manages to overcome the election night challenge from Walter Griffith, he then appoints a deputy controller from the ranks of the longtime party loyalists and then quickly resigns from the controller position, in effect, picking the next controller of Luzerne County? Is the rumor true? Is it Wil? Is it Frank?

What’s afoot here? More back room deals? More dirty politics?

V’ger needs to know.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No more "baby wheels"

I bought this here bicycle for Gage Andrew some years ago, but he's long outgrown it and riding his own 20-inch bike down Nashville way. Anyway, after only one 3-hour practice session at the shop with the training wheels still on, the training wheels came off, at the shop again, as requested by 6-year-old Zach himself. As he said it, he wanted to ride without the "baby wheels."

Caught in this video is just his fourth or fifth attempt at it. And as you can see, considering how new this was to him, he was doing quite well. Very well, in fact. Unfortunately, he didn't see it that way.

Anyway, turn up the volume and listen to him grunting these little whining noises as he goes. What a hoot. What a character.

There are those days when I enjoy being a Pop Pop more than I ever did being a pop.


Monday, October 5, 2009

If he fails, we all fail

Markie is ill. Very freaking ill. Flu-like symptoms. I guess it’s too late to get me one of those Swine Flu shots. As if I would.

Before we get into any of this unneeded nonsense, I feel the need to respond to a comment that was posted here.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It's official...O'Brien vs. Kanjozilla":

What part of EMBARGOED UNTIL FRIDAY EVENING don't you understand?

Secondly, I could really care less what Corey O’Brien or any of his campaign consultants think about me, my site or anything else of note. And follow me here, I will not cry myself a river if I am now predictably excluded from the campaign e-mail list.

Thirdly, how am I supposed to get all excited about a candidate who used one elected office as a temporary springboard for yet another? It’s not as if he scores major electoral points for his forthrightness. As far as I’m concerned, his threadbare resume is rivaled as a disqualifier only by his blind ambition. Remind you of anyone?

But in the grand scheme of things, mine counts for only one vote. T’ain’t no big thang.
I’m quite certain we’ve all seen this gem of a story (or heard it discussed on WILK), so I’ll dispense with the recap.

Ex-bakery sale draws criticism

Callahan’s town home idea is of particular interest because county commissioners forgave $42,349 in county back taxes on the property in February 2005, with the understanding that the city would acquire the property and sell it to a developer for town homes, said minority Commissioner Stephen A. Urban.

Leighton said town homes were never intended for that parcel because the site is zoned for commercial manufacturing.

However, Urban’s statement is backed up by county commissioner meeting minutes that say the city indicated the parcel would house “townhomes within character of the neighborhood.”
In all, the parcel has accrued $521,734 in past-due school, county and city taxes from 1995 through 2007. Urban believes the city should have stayed out of the matter and let the property go to back-tax sale years ago. If nobody was willing to pay the back taxes, the property would have been sold to the highest bidder free of taxes and liens, he said.

Yeah, that’d work. This guy is as clueless as he is vertically-challenged.

It goes up for tax sale, and some property squatter buys the thing, hoping against hope to sell it for a tidy profit, and then it sits there unused, not refurbished and deteriorates even more. That is, until some other land squatter buys it hoping to pull the same stunt.

And speaking of staying out of the matter, doesn’t Steve Urban have a few taxing problems of his own to concern himself with? Oh, I don’t know. What’s the latest from the corruption dome? What was it, a $30 million budgetary shortfall?

Oh, that’s right. He’s not big on offering ideas or workable solutions, only on criticizing his fellow commissioners and Wilkes-Barre‘s mayor. They did it! They did it, not me! Yeah. Thanks for that, Dr. No.

And then we have the fact that, at that corruption dome, handcuffs seem to be the accessory of (non) choice. Gee, Steve, name for me a high-ranking county official, or a close in-the-loop friend of a county employee who hasn’t been implicated in something completely nefarious, and I’ll give you some multi-colored pipe cleaners to amuse yourself with when you’re not busy trying to besmirch the reputation of your favorite target--Wilkes-Barre’s mayor.

Make checks payable to: My Wife for Mayor.

Since I count as a neighbor one of the two men mentioned in the “Feds visit City Hall” story published some days ago by the Citizens’ Voice, I have been practically inundated with requests for a comment. Here it comes…

I have known the guy--my neighbor--since 1993. And I wholeheartedly believe him to be good people, above repute and not one to succumb to doing tawdry things. And I will add the following as a way of demonstrating that above all else, he cherishes his integrity.

When first he was approached about bringing his expertise to City Hall, he turned the position down so as to not appear as being a political hire. He was a logical fit for that position, and he has been an unarguably big asset to this rebuilding city. But for appearances sake, he was poised to turn his back on the position.

And with all of that said, I would be more than willing to publicly state that I seriously, seriously doubt that any investigation into his actions by any law enforcement agency whatsoever would bare any fruit at all.

That‘s all I got on that.

When Barack Obama announced that he would fly to Copenhagen and make a personal pitch for the 2016 Olympics on Chicago’s behalf, I’ll admit to being somewhat appalled.

Frankly, I’m appalled that the 535-plus two jackasses in Washington D.C. seem to think that the distressing economic numbers that make the Great Depression look like an alcohol-fueled orgy aren’t frightening.

And this is a bipartisan problem, the attitude that, Oh, this is America. The economy will rebound. It always rebounds. This is America.


Not when we keep printing and spending money we can’t pay down. And not when the rampant spending will likely kill by way of runaway inflation any hoped-for economic rebound in it’s infancy.

Anyway, I want these elected people to focus almost all of their attention and energies on fixing the economy, and not attracting the frickin’ Olympics.

But I what I found even more appalling than Obama’s impromptu road trip was the overwhelmingly gleeful reaction from the right-leaning folks at the news that Obama’s personal bid for the games had fallen on it’s face with a noticeable thud. And to be painfully honest, it does smack of racism. It really does.

And if all that the folks on the right side of the political aisle have in their current political arsenal is openly rooting against the black guy, they might just disappear as a viable option for the foreseeable future.

Personally, I think Obama is as clueless and dangerous as he is naïve. But that belief is based solely on his political ideology and his blank slate of a resume, and not on the fact that he has a permanent tan.

The thing is, if I’m happy and healthy and doing very well economically, I could really care less what color my fearless leader is. At this troubling and vexing time in our short history as a country, if he fails, we all fail.

Who was it again that said, “It’s the economy, stupid?”


Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's official...O'Brien vs. Kanjozilla



Saturday, October 3, 2009 – From the steps of his childhood home, Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien officially announced Saturday morning that he will be a candidate for the United States Congress (PA-11) in 2010.

Immediately following the announcement, Commissioner O’Brien, joined by family members and friends, launched a 2-day, 30-hour, non-stop, no sleep bus tour through PA-11. The bus tour began in Dunmore, PA and is traveling to a number of neighborhoods, restaurants, companies and other venues in Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe counties.

Commissioner O'Brien plans to focus on his record as a champion of common sense government, fiscal responsibility and ethics reform in the campaign:

"For far too long, politicians have been catering to special interests while leaving people in our region to fend for themselves. I'm running for Congress to replace the old-style politics with new-style leadership, by promoting job growth, encouraging health care reform, holding myself to a higher ethical standard and working to strengthen our children’s educational opportunities."

Prior to his election as Lackawanna County Commissioner in 2007, Corey O'Brien practiced law and hosted an award winning public affairs television show. He currently resides in Moosic, PA with his wife, Atty. Michelle O'Brien and their two young children.

A question and answer session will be held on the bus prior to its departure from Dunmore. Members of the press are welcome to join Commissioner O’Brien for the full duration of the bus tour.


Press Contact:

Bill McDonnell, Chairman, Corey O’Brien for Congress, (570) 498-3802

Editor's note: Yawn.