Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hats Off To Al Boscov

Al Boscov has placed a big bet on the future. At a time when the pundits are writing about the demise of retail shopping and the devastating impact it will have on malls Al Boscov, 79, was able to stump for a bailout of his former chain operation. With the assistance of the chain's former president, Edwin Lakin,85, they brokered a deal which included public and private financing to buy the chain in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. This article highlights the banks and governing bodies including the Commonwealth and Luzerne County that backed the plan to save the chain.

The Times Leader featured an article from Michael Rubinkam of the Associated Press on Al Boscov's passion for his former chain.

"“We spent 50 years building this damn thing,” Boscov said. “I didn’t want to see it go to nothing. I wanted to see it survive and live on.”

In Pennsylvania, Boscov’s now operates 24 stores and employs more than 5,000 people. Among them are ones in downtown Wilkes-Barre, at the Mall at Steamtown in Scranton and at Laurel Mall in the Hazleton area. Boscov’s also has stores in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware."

Detroit would learn a lesson by reading Al's story. He didn't need one Congressional hearing to rescue the chain.

Footnote: Michael Rubinkam broke the news that Lou Barletta was challenging Paul Kanjorski in the early part of this year. I met Michael at the WVIA studio before their debate.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Juvenile Law Center Files Second Request To Review Luzerne County's Juvenile Court Procedures

On the heels of my December 20th post about the Juvenile Law Center comes this press release in the Times Leader. It appears the JLC is reiterating its request to the State Supreme Court for review of juvenile cases that occurred without representation in Luzerne County's Juvenile Court. I, for one, want to know the number of children sent to detention since Judge Lupas took over Juvenile Court.

If you want to read about an incredible case I first noticed two years ago click here. I asked the Times Leader for a follow up to the story but haven't read it yet.

After the outlandish punishment issued by the Judicial Conduct Board against Judge Lokuta one would think that denial of due process rights would rank much higher on the court's agenda.

Or maybe, just maybe as in the Blagojevich case where the U.S. Attorney asked Obama to delay releasing the results of his own internal investigation, maybe the U.S. Attorney or the F.B.I. has asked the State Supreme Court to wait until their investigation is finished.

My Dell

I just bought my son a Dell Laptop for Christmas. I ordered it through Costco because it was much cheaper than ordering it directly from Dell. The box came in today shipped from Lavergne, On the carton is a big white label-"Computer Made In China."

The last Dell Laptop I purchased came from their outlet. I paid $1,399.00 for the same computer that would cost $2,790.00 new when I priced it on their website with the same warranty. On inspection the top had an ink mark on it. I tried every solvent known to man to remove it. When I called Dell they informed me they would have to build a new computer and ship it. The top couldn't simply be replaced. I received a new one in ten days from Taiwan.

Keep that in mind when the bailout talk resumes in January.

Pennsylvania Legislature- What A Job If You Can Get It

So far the House of the Pennsylvania legislature has met 70 days this year where 7 of those days were non-voting.

Below is a list of days certain committees of interest were in session.
AGING AND OLDER ADULT SERVICES Committee met for four days.
ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY Committee met for fourteen days.
FINANCE Committee met for ten days.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Committee met for eight days.
LIQUOR CONTROL Committee met for four days.
TRANSPORTATION Committee met for four days.

And the INSURANCE Committee did not meet for 2008.

Base Salary for House of Representatives- $76,000.00

Did I mention that in addition to their salary they are entitled to $158.00 each day they show up for work in Harrisburg to pay for meals? Did I mention that if someone picks up their meals they are still entitled to $158.00 for the day? That's because I didn't. Brad Bumstead over at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review wrote an excellent piece on the subject.
If you want to see what people working for them make look here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Problem

A story that appeared in Sunday's edition of the (Sub-)Standard Speaker highlights the tax consequences of the auto industry's plight. Pennsylvania's motor vehicle sales tax revenue is down 25% when compared for November 2008 over November 2007.

The data supplied by the state Revenue Department shows the motor vehicle sales tax revenue is down $60 million year to date which represents a 12% drop. Two reasons are cited in the story- difficulty in securing financing(credit scores of at least 700 I am told by my friend at Tom Hesser Nissan) and those who do purchase buying lower priced and smaller cars to keep pace with the high price of gasoline.

Total sales tax from non-motor vehicle categories are $9 million less than last year. It is going to be hard for Fast Eddie Rendell to convince the electorate there is extra money for his electrical spike and healthcare for the uninsured initiatives.

I am going to take the liberty to post in its entirety a letter to the editor that appeared in today's Morning Call. It highlights consumer sentiment that prevails today.

What's an 'American car,' anyway?
December 21, 2008
A Dec. 14 letter, ''Buying 'American' helps the U.S.'' encouraged us to buy American cars. In 1991, I bought my first new car, a Ford Escort. American? Well, it was actually assembled in Mexico.

In 1999, I tried again to buy American, this time a Ford Windstar. Strike two: It was assembled in Canada. Next up was a Chrysler Town and Country. It was also assembled in Canada.

With my most recent car purchase, I was determined to buy an American-made car, and I finally succeeded: A Toyota Camry, assembled in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Will someone please tell me what constitutes an ''American'' car?

Alan Earnshaw



Saturday, December 20, 2008

My All Time Favorite Christmas Song

And I will throw Disney in as a bonus. Send this out to all my friends, past, present, and future.

We Are Printing And Inventing Money- President Elect Obama Is Headed Down A Wrong Path

A must read if you are interested in the dire consequences we will be facing as a nation.

No Public Outcry Over Pennsylvania General Assembly's Surplus

Apathy in America seems to be at an all time high. It's a sorry place we find ourselves today. Anyone paying attention to the news knows about the $50 billion Ponzi scheme, the Fed printing money translating inventing money, a $17.4 billion bailout of a terminally ill auto industry, a $700 billion bailout of the financial services sector, a 40% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, housing prices falling to the tune of 39% in some areas, and mortgage/general credit unavailability.

In the wake of all that doom the Pennsylvania General Assembly has a $200 million dollar surplus. The interesting part of this story to me is not so much about the surplus but about the cost of government. According to Legislative Audit Advisory Commission the cost of Pennsylvania's General Assembly was $316 million plus another $37 million for a total of $353 million.

There are 253 legislators in Pennsylvania between the House and the Senate. On average each legislator costs Pennsylvanians $1,395,256.00. Pennsylvania has the highest number of legislators per 100,000 residents. If the legislature were cut in half Pennsylvanians could save almost $177 million per year. Imagine the services that could be funded with that kind of money.

Back to the $200 million surplus. Why is the Legislature keeping the surplus money? In most other states that money is returned to the General Fund at the end of the year, translates, back to the taxpayer.

Petrilla & Co. Fire Back At Ciavarella

In response to an injunction granted against the Luzerne County Commissioners and the Luzerne County Salary Board, Commissioner Petrilla and her colleagues fired back with an emergency petition to the State Supreme Court. Their attorney used an extraordinary but rarely used action called "Kings Bench Jurisidiction." The term eminates from England where the king actually sat on the court.

In this case the Supreme Court is viewed as "a supervisory tribunal to keep other jurisdictions within their proper bounds". Its civil jurisdiction is against the officers or ministers of the court entitled to its privilege.

What is ironic is the fact that Ciavarella is telling the court irreparable harm will come to the courts if their funding is cut. However, he has no study or factual information to back up his assertion. I guess he feels that no irreparable harm will come to Luzerne County or the taxpayers if he is given a blank check.

In a twist to this story the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania plans to submit a brief in support of Luzerne County's efforts.

"Association Executive Director Doug Hill said Friday the timing of Luzerne County’s legal battle is "ironic" because the association earlier this month filed a motion asking the state Supreme Court to force the state to honor a 1996 Supreme Court order to fund county courts."

If Ciavarella was truly concerned about his funding why didn't he petition the State Supreme Court to enforce its order? He likes to pick the low hanging fruit. If it involves work he tries to sidestep it.

Anybody remember the lawsuit filed by the Juvenile Law Center against Judge Ciavarella to intervene on the juvenile court cases where the children had no legal representation. That is what I call irreparable harm.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court does not accept all cases that are brought before it. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett each filed briefs to convince the Court to take jurisdiction in this matter.

A bigger question is why isn't the mainstream media taking Ciavarella to task on these issues? Peter seems to have a grasp on the magnitude of Luzerne County Court problems.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ciavarella Files Lawsuit Against Himself??

As promised Judge Mark Ciavarella has filed a lawsuit against the Luzerne County Commissioners and the Luzerne Salary Board over budget cuts approved in the 2009 county budget. When you read the pleading you will see that Ciavarella's attorneys listed him as a member of the Luzerne County Salary board. The pleading also contains the following assertions.

9. Defendants have refused to adopt and/or refused to fund in full the Court's budget request for 2009,where said budget requests are reasonable and necessary and mirror image the previously approved and funded budget of 2008 with any increase, except as detailed in avertment twelve(12) below.

12. Any increase in payroll attributable to the Court, is solely and exclusively due to union mandated collective bargaining agreement contracts that Defendant have negotiated and become legally bound to honor pursuant to and in accordance with 16 P.S. §1620.

It is time to remind his honor about a post he created in 2008 that wasn't in the original budget. He hired Sam Guesto at a salary of $78,160.00 per year for a job CREATED as a new court director. People will remember Sam Guesto as the person behind the debit card fiasco that the Secret Service recently turned over to the U.S. Attorney.

A little about Guesto from a Times Leader article. "Guesto resigned as chief clerk in February to take a newly created position as a director of specialty courts/alternative sentencing. The switch came amid a storm of controversy surrounding his involvement in an illegal piecemealing scandal at the county prison and the misuse of county debit cards."

The pleading ends with Mark Ciavarella's verification statement. "I, Mark A. Ciavarella, President Judge of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. verify that the facts set forth within the foregoing Mandamus Complaint are true and correct, to the best of our knowledge, information and belief. I understand that false statements herein are subject to the penalties of 19 P.C.S. §4904 relating to unsworn falsifications to authorities."

An action of Mandamus is to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly. I thought Luzerne County Commissioners trying to pass a balanced budget within reasonble income expectations would be performing the duties of the office correctly.

Why Does Paul Kanjorski Keep Blaming George Bush About The Iraq War?

Here is an excerpt from an article written where Kanjorski talks about the lies he credits to President Bush over weapons of mass destruction. [Until he saw the pictures, Kanjorski said, “I hadn’t thought that Iraq was a threat.” ] Evidently Paul Kanjorski never spoke to people in his party.

"Iraq is a long way from (here) , but what happens there, matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." Madeline Albright 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, and he has ten times since 1983." Sandy Berger 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." Nancy Pelosi 1998

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." Al Gore 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seing and developing weapons of mass destruction." Ted Kennedy 2002

I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-if necessary-to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." John Kerry 2002

Paul Kanjorski Refused To Commend Our Troops

Voted NO on approving removal of Saddam & valiant service of US troops.

States that the House of Representatives:

1.affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;

2.commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;

3.commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and

4.commends the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.

Reference: War in Iraq Anniversary resolution; Bill H Res 557 ; vote number 2004-64 on Mar 17, 2004

Social Security Is A Bigger Ponzi Scheme

Bernard Madoff is credited with putting together one of the biggest Ponzi schemes. He was arrested after he admitted to squandering $50 billion of investor money.

A federal judge issued an order seeking the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC to protect investors duped by Madoff.

So let's get this straight. Madoff used money he received from new investors to pay off long time investors. As long as new money kept flowing in he was able to keep the scheme going.

Doesn't this scheme sound exactly like Social Security payments? Look at this article about Social Security. The Social Secuirity taxes we pay today fund current obligations to Social Security beneficiaries. It is not a tax that goes into a private account available to us when we retire. In other words the tax money the government receives from "current workers" is used to pay off benefits to "retired workers."

The governement is under no obligation to make sure Social Security is available when we retire although we paid into the system every day of our working lives.

And they arrested Madoff.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Paul Kanjorski- Why Aren't You Saving Jobs At Sanofi Pasteur

Press releases over the weekend indicate that Sanofi Pasteur is negotiating to move as many as 400 jobs from its Swiftwater(11th Congressional District)location to Bethlehem.

Obstacles from townships,Monroe County, and envrionmentalists fueled this ongoing issue. Sewer issues have plagued the progress to expand their Swiftwater site.

Pocono Township finally approved a plan but it will take three years to complete. Sanofi's timetable cannot be met under such this plan.

"Company Vice President Frank Epifano says 600 employees now use temporary trailers at the Swiftwater campus. He says the company plans to relocate several hundred jobs."

In talks with Lehigh County and Upper Saucon Township officials Sanofi will be able to take advantage of a KOZ designation for the Stabler site. The KOZ designation can eliminate payment of all state, local and school district taxes for 10 years.

Look at the jobs that will be moved to the Bethlehem site. Most are high level managerial jobs that pay significant money. Imagine the EIT tax lost to those townships and Monroe County.

Paul Kanjorski, what efforts were made by your office to address this issue in your district? Its appropriate that it is Christmas time. The answer to my question can be found in Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. Yukon Cornelius sticks his axe in the snow, takes a lick and says "Nuttin."

Of course in Bethlehem they are yelling "WAHOOOO"!! for the jobs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dick Cheney Says Its Herbert Hoover Time

When the Senate failed to pass the auto bailout plan VP Dick Cheney told the Republican Senators it would be "Herbert Hoover" time. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Herbert Hoover.

The final attempt of the Hoover Administration to rescue the economy was the passage of the Emergency Relief and Construction Act which included funds for public works programs(Barack's Plan) and the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in 1932. The RFC's initial goal was to provide government-secured loans to financial institutions, railroads and farmers(AKA Bailout). The RFC had minimal impact at the time, but was adopted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and greatly expanded as part of his New Deal.(now adopted by Obama)

In order to pay for these and other government programs, Hoover agreed to one of the largest tax increases in American history.Obama's at it again. The Revenue Act of 1932 raised income tax on the highest incomes from 25% to 63%. The estate tax was doubled and corporate taxes were raised by almost 15%. Also, a "check tax" was included that placed a 2-cent tax (over 30 cents in today's dollars) on all bank checks. Economists William D. Lastrapes and George Selgin,[29] conclude that the check tax was "an important contributing factor to that period's severe monetary contraction." Hoover also encouraged Congress to investigate the New York Stock Exchange, and this pressure resulted in various reforms.

For this reason, years later libertarians argued that Hoover's economics were statist. Franklin D. Roosevelt blasted the Republican incumbent for spending and taxing too much, increasing national debt, raising tariffs and blocking trade, as well as placing millions on the dole of the government. Didn't Obama say the same thing about George Bush??

Roosevelt attacked Hoover for "reckless and extravagant" spending, of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible," and of leading "the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all of history." Roosevelt's running mate, John Nance Garner, accused the Republican of "leading the country down the path of socialism".[30] Obama you go man! Spend on healthcare. Spend on job creation. Spend, Spend, Spend, or should we call you Billy Idol

As for Roosevelt who easily beat Hoover for re-election- "Roosevelt overreached on his Supreme Court packing plan, and a further financial recession in 1937 and 1938 tarnished his image of invincibility."

Any of this sound like Deja Vu?

Robin Williams On Obama's Election

I thought I would beat Gort to the Youtube weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Paul Kanjorski Is Wasting Billions

Last evening, December 10, 2008, Lou Dobb's was interviewing Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren, head of the Congressional Oversight Panel that was created as part of the bailout package.She noted during her interview that the bailout money given to the banks failed to trickle down to the American public.

"We've handed this money out. It's been stuffed into the vaults of the banks. We haven't asked the banks for any terms or to change anything. We haven't said how are you going to tie this to the American families. Let's face it. The bottom line is you can't save banks if the American family goes down the tubes. It's not possible. They can't exist. You don't get to save them and not save this country and the people who run this country, who are the real economy in this country."

During that segment Lou Dobb's aired a video of Paul Kanjorski's comments on the hearing held on the bailouts. Once again Paul Kanjorski doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. Here are his comments.

"REP. PAUL KANJORSKI (D), FINANCIAL SERVICES CMTE.: We have to tell the American people the truth, and that truth is going to hurt. Some of that truth is we're going to spend billions of dollars incorrectly, wrongly and wastefully. They're going to have to know that because we're like mad scientists in an economic laboratory trying to get the correct potion."

Professor Warren had this reaction to his comments:

"WARREN: There's just -- this breaks my heart. We don't have billions of dollars to spend here. One of the problems with spending money in this way is that at some point we really do run out of money. And if we're not using our money in the right ways, in ways to strengthen the American family, in ways to help out with this crazy mortgage foreclosure situation that we've got going, then our opportunity will be lost. It will be gone."

Paul Kanjorski claims to be the second highest ranking Member of his subcommittee. Just keep spending billions on your experiment, Paul. The people of the 11th district are more than happy to fund it.

Scranton, Wilkes Barre, so you get millions. He is giving away billions. Where is your share??? Kanjorski had the trash talk nerve to call Lou Barletta a creep. Paul, in Hebrew, you would be a hamor. In Spanish you would be a pendejo. No matter what language you speak you would still be the same thing. I hope you can hear me now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paul Kanjorkski Stretching The Baseball Facts

Paul Kanjorski, in his usual arrogant attitude, fired back at the Associated Press over their story concerning Freddie Mac and the Washington National baseball tickets. He states that the Associated Press mislead the public in its story. Paul, what a crock. How many times in your career have you mislead the public? The Veteran's Hospital in Wilkes Barre is one example but we will save that for another day.

Kanjorski blames George Bush for everything. I don't know what he is going to do after January 20, 2009.

Here is the part of the AP story Paul wants everyone to forget.

"The records obtained by the AP reflect growing concern within Freddie Mac over a chorus of criticism from Republicans worried that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had grown too big. The two companies owned or guaranteed over $5 trillion in mortgages.

The Bush administration and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan were sounding the alarm about the potential threat to the nation's financial health if the fortunes of the two mammoth companies turned sour. They did eventually, when they took on $1 trillion worth of subprime mortgages and when their traditional guarantee business deteriorated. Commercial banks regarded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as competitors and were anxious to pick up business that would result from scaling back the two companies.

Pushing back, Freddie Mac enlisted prominent conservatives, including Gingrich and former Justice Department official Viet Dinh, paying each $300,000 in 2006, according to internal records."

"The AP previously described, in October, how Freddie Mac thwarted efforts to bring a tough regulatory bill sponsored by Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and John McCain of Arizona to a full Senate vote.

At a meeting days after Hagel's bill went to the full Senate, Syron and McLoughlin berated the company's in-house lobbyists for failing to keep Hagel's bill corralled in committee, said the four people familiar with events at Freddie Mac at the time.

Freddie Mac shifted into high gear, secretly paying a Republican consulting firm, Washington-based DCI Group, $2 million to kill Hagel's legislation. The covert lobbying campaign targeted Republican senators in 2005-06.

According to the newly obtained records, DCI's deployment was part of a broader campaign that targeted mainly Republicans on Capitol Hill.

The internal Freddie Mac documents show that 17 of the lobbying firms and consultants paid in 2006 were specifically directed to focus on Republicans and four on Democrats, with varying targets for the rest."

Paul, the Democrats had control of Congress, not the Republicans. That is why Freddie Mac needed to concentrate on the Republicans. There was little disagreement in the Democratic party to leave Freddie Mac alone.

Paul, do you really want us to believe that Freddie Mac buys individual tickets for each game as oppossed to having box seats. Here is the pricing for the Washington Nationals. It is reported that Diamond Club seats are $90.00, not $45.00. Let's entertain Paul's story for a moment. The price of his ticket is $45.00. The price of parking is between $15.00 to $40.00 for valet per game. The average price of an entree at Kosher Sports is between $11.00 and $20.00. Burgers at the Hard Times Cafe located at the stadium are almost $9.00. The price of a domestic draft beer is $7.50. The price of a mixed drink is between $8.00 and $12.00.

Lets add it up. $45.00 for ticket, $20.00 for parking, $9.00 for a sandwich, $8.00 for a mixed drink, and these prices are the low end. $82.00 is what I get, not $45.00. When you go to the ball park do you only have one beer???

When you go to your seat what are the chances that the CEO and lobbyists of Freddie Mac are sitting next to you? But, according to Paul, it was the Associated Press that is misleading the public.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Once Again Paul Kanjorski Goes National

How Freddie Mac Splashed Cash to Halt RegulationDec 8 2008- According to internal Freddie Mac documents obtained by the AP, Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., spent the evening in hard-to-obtain seats near the Nationals dugout with Freddie Mac executive Hollis McLoughlin and four of Freddie Mac's in-house lobbyists. Both were members of the House Financial Services Committee.

AP IMPACT: How Freddie Mac halted regulatory drive By PETE YOST – 7 hours ago- According to internal Freddie Mac documents obtained by the AP, Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., spent the evening in hard-to-obtain seats near the Nationals dugout with Freddie Mac executive Hollis McLoughlin and four of Freddie Mac's in-house lobbyists. Both were members of the House Financial Services Committee.

Company documents: Kanjorski took gift of lender Sunbury, PA Dec 8 2008-According to confidential company documents obtained by The Associated Press, Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., spent the evening in hard-to-obtain seats near the Nationals dugout with Freddie Mac executive Hollis McLoughlin and four of Freddie Mac’s in-house lobbyists. Kanjorski declined comment through a spokeswoman.

AP IMPACT: How Freddie Mac halted regulatory drive- Phila. Dec 8, 2008 According to internal Freddie Mac documents obtained by the AP, Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., spent the evening in hard-to-obtain seats near the Nationals dugout with Freddie Mac executive Hollis McLoughlin and four of Freddie Mac's in-house lobbyists. Both were members of the House Financial Services Committee.

Even Oregon got into the picture. AP IMPACT: How Freddie Mac halted regulatory drive
12/8/2008, 12:43 a.m. PST By PETE YOST The Associated Press- According to internal Freddie Mac documents obtained by the AP, Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., spent the evening in hard-to-obtain seats near the Nationals dugout with Freddie Mac executive Hollis McLoughlin and four of Freddie Mac's in-house lobbyists. Both were members of the House Financial Services Committee.

From dust thouart to Asheville, N.C. thou shalt return. Miami, Cleveland, I could keep going.

Lets return to two of my previous posts. If you really want to go to the September 23, 2008 post and my September 21, 2008 post. Why is it new to the Associated Press?

Obama and Kanjorski Benefited From Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's Influence

Here is a Youtube.com video where Daniel Mudd, Fannie Mae CEO calls Obama and the Dems the "Family" and "Conscience" of Fannie Mae. He is speaking before the Congressional Black Caucus at its 2005 swearing in ceremony.

The Associated Press reported how Freddie Mac influenced Congressional action to thwart increased regulatory oversight. Of course, Paul Kanjorski would be at the cetner of that influence.

"When the Washington Nationals played their first-ever baseball game in the nation’s capital in April 2005, two congressmen who oversaw mortgage giant Freddie Mac had choice seats — courtesy of the very company they were supposed to be keeping an eye on.

Efforts to tighten government regulation were gaining support on Capitol Hill, and Freddie Mac was fighting back. The baseball tickets for the home opener were means of influence.

According to confidential company documents obtained by The Associated Press, Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, spent the evening in hard-to-obtain seats near the Nationals dugout with Freddie Mac executive Hollis McLoughlin and four of Freddie Mac’s in-house lobbyists."

Bob Ney would be the same Congressman who authored the Ney-Kanjorski bill which attempted to gut state predatory lending laws.

Ney would be the same former Congressman who was sentenced to 30 months in jail after admitting "that he performed official acts for Abramoff's lobbying clients between 2001 and 2004, receiving in exchange luxury vacation trips, skybox seats at sporting events, campaign contributions and expensive meals." Would they be the same tickets Paul Kanjorski accepted and uncovered by the Associated Press?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Barack Obama Took Victory Away From Lou Barletta

This map came from Google and shows the electoral votes. The map below shows county by county how the presidential elections faired out. It is from Newsmax.com.

Paul Kanjorski has robo called my house two times in the last week over the auto industry bailout. He knows he is in deep trouble next election. Even his own party can smell it. There will be younger challengers from the Democratic ranks who will defeat Kanjo in the primary.

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss survived his re-election battle in part because Obama was not at the top of the ticket for election run-off. Louisiana voters delivered two Congressional Republican victories while ousting indicted U.S. Representative William Jefferson. In these elections Obama was not present to unfarily influence the outcome. He bought the election and he knows it.

If Kanjorski had to face Barletta in an off year he loses. If one analyzes the election results that fact is in the data. And Paul, quit calling my house with my dollars.

The fairy dust has cleared. The realities about Obama are starting to settle in. Before the election one could buy Obama on QVC. He was a carefully wrapped package sold to the unsuspecting public.

Obama announced that he is going to put America to work under a MASSIVE government spending program. I thought they crucified George Bush for doing exactly that. He intends to create 2.5 million jobs. So let me get this straight. A Democratic President is about the create the largest "corporation" in America but the Republicans are about big "business." I must give him credt. As he did during his campaign he gave few details during his annoucement.

Mr. Obama, please explain how you are going pay to hire 2.5 million people and pay to provide all people in this country with universal healthcare at the same time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Secret Service Probe Of Luzerne County-Crooks, Tales, Trails-

The Secret Service is reporting that it finished its investigation into the probe of Luzerne County's debit card fiasco. Its findings were turned over to the U.S. Attorney's office for review to see if charges are warranted in that inquiry.

A little noticed comment appears in the Citizen's Voice article that is worth exploring. [Kosik-Whitaker said the U.S. attorney’s office will not publicly release the Secret Service report on the debit-card probe when the case is closed because it “remains an internal document, which may contain information gained through grand jury information.”

Let's step back for a moment in time. Former U.S. Attorney Thomas Marino resigned his post last year. A Big Fat Slob reported ""What is unclear from the reports is how long it took Marino to recuse himself from the investigation of his long-time friend. (But, it's gotta give you a warm and fuzzy to realize that the chief Federal law enforcement official in the Middle District has a long-standing friendship with a convicted felon who has long been reputedly associated with the largest organized crime family in his District.)

It was reported last year that, between 2000 and 2005, DeNaples and affiliates contributed over a million bucks to Rendell and Bob Mellow, among others, who were instrumental in naming folk to the gaming board that eventually awarded DeNaples his slots license. Earlier this week, citizens groups filed ethics complaints against one of those board members, whose law firm represented DeNaples and another slots applicant."
(Information from Vince Fumo's trial likens to watching Caddy Shack. You never know when that gopher is going to pop its head out of the ground. Mellow, Rendell, Casey)

Marino considered running for Congress in the 10th Congressional District at one point but obviously changed plans. It seems the Pennsylvania State Police had interest in Mr. Marino's partial ownership of a nightclub in Williamsport that committed liquor violations. Marino now works for Louis DeNaples after probing him.

The reason all of this information may be relevant to the comment about the grand jury is not about DeNaples but about Marino's successor. Martin Carlson was the First Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania at the time of Marino's resignation. Today he is Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District.

Here is the interesting twist. According to the Patriot News at the time Marino's cases were transferred to Binghamton after he recused himself over the DeNaples investigation. Is any of this relevant to the Secret Service and the debit cards? Elementary, my dear Watson.

There is speculation that a grand jury may have been convened in Binghamton over the FBI and IRS probe of the Luzerne County courthouse. Information from that grand jury may be contained in the Secret Service report, hence the reason it will not be released due to the other testimony. In any event there was no known grand jury convened over the debit card process. Stay tuned. If this all hits in the next coming months watch the sky

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Eachus Hires Christopher Casey To Do An Efficiency Study???

At a time when Card Check is a buzz word, Todd Eachus was elected House Majority Leader beating Rep. Frank Dermody of Allegheny County in a closed door election process.

Eachus replaced Bill "Da Weasel" DeWeese who is now No. 3 at Whip. You have to admire someone who hits the ground running since he assumed the job December 1.

Eachus announced that HE hired outside legal counsel for the House Democratic Caucus(remember that he paid off arrested Mike Veon's campaing debt without consulting the rest of the caucus Members). His choice was Christopher Casey, brother of Senator Bob Casey.

On December 2, 2008 I reported on the Vince Fumo trial where the latter Casey's name was part of the testimony.

If you look at the bio on Christopher Casey you will read the following:

Areas of Focus: Partner, Corporate Investigations and White Collar Group. Mr. Casey concentrates his practice in white collar defense, criminal and civil antitrust, defamation, and complex commercial litigation.

I guess that Bonusgate probe by Attorney General Tom Corbett was focused on the "government duplication, waste and inefficiencies" that citizens demand during difficult economic times. At least that is what Eachus said in his press release. The release also states Casey will be "tasked with examining current procedures, contracts and staff structure." Having been involved in a merger of the number two and number five corporations in my industry I can report that an attorney was not brought in for these areas. Consultants with expertise were hired to reduce duplication, etc. but they weren't attorneys.

Since Eachus was one of the representatives who refused to give back the illegal pay raise of 2005 his explanation seems like a case of "Wag The Dog".

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Senator Vince Fumo Behind Anti-Rendell Ads in 2002

The Associated Press is reporting out of Philadelphia that testimony in ex-Senator Vincent Fumo's trial indicates he quitely funded anti-Rendell campaign ads according to an article in today's Times Leader. As you read the story it parallels Attorney General Tom Corbett's efforts in Bonusgate.

Fumo gave $35,000 to a political action committee that placed anti-Rendell newspaper ads, had state Senate aides set up computer and phone equipment at Rendell rival Bob Casey’s headquarters, and delegated Senate contractor Howard Cain to run a get-out-the-vote effort for Casey, Cain and others testified.

The newspaper ads gave no hint that Fumo, a longtime Philadelphia power broker, was involved. In small type, they said only that they were sponsored by “Public Officials for a Better Pennsylvania” — a PAC formed two months earlier by two high-ranking Democrats, Rep. Bill DeWeese and Sen. Bob Mellow. Both men supported Casey.

Mellow told The Philadelphia Inquirer recently that he could not recall what role Fumo played in the PAC. DeWeese also cited a hazy memory. But DeWeese conceded that using the group to shield Fumo’s role in the attack “certainly seems to be a dubious mechanism.”

Harrisburg is nothing but a breeding cesspool full of corrupt politicians. Some get caught and others get talked about.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mellow Represents Legislative Arrogance Yet No Public Outcry

The Times Leader reported Senator Robeert Mellow will once again serve as leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus. You might recall that Mellow was one of those government opportunists who refused to repay the illegal pay raise of 2005.

On November 19, 2008 the Time Tribune ran a story about a legislative watchdog group that file a Senate ethics request over Mellow's seat on the Board of Blue Cross. "A legislative reform group called Tuesday for an ethics investigation to determine whether Sen. Robert Mellow's recent appointment to the board of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and a subsidiary is a conflict of interest.

The formal request was made to the Senate Ethics Committee by Eric Epstein, coordinator of RockTheCapital.org, a group formed during the 2005 legislative pay raise controversy.

"His acceptance of a board seat with Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an obvious conflict of interest of the simple reason that the interests of the company are not necessarily those of the people," Mr. Epstein wrote in a 17-page document released to the media

RocktheCapital.org issued a press release on November 24, 2008 asking for a suspension of legislative pay raises and future cost of living increases. Mellow responded to the Philadelphia Inquirer last Friday "Our members have the same family responsibilities as others."

I received a notice from BLue Cross NEPA in the mail. A $75.00 copayment for emergency accident services and emergency medical services obtained in Member Hospitals and in Non-Member Hospitals has been added. The co-payment per visit for certain Diagnostic Imaging Procedures has been increased from $15.00 to $75.00. Coverage for reversal of sterilization has been excluded.

Bob Mellow claims the $20,000-a-year BLue Cross board seat will provide him with insight he needs to further public policy.

The Times Tribune article goes on to state "The best way that Mr. Mellow can meet the public’s need for an effective health care policy is to use his power as a legislator to ensure that non-profit, tax-exempt insurers like Blue Cross fulfill their nonprofit charter obligations to meet their communities’ health care needs.

Senator Mellow, if you make it so I can't afford diagnostic services which might detect a disease state before it becomes more costly to treat how did you meet that policy?

Monday, November 24, 2008

George Bush You Aren't Done Until January 20th

As I watch television or read reports both on the net and in print I am stymied by the ineffective path George Bush is choosing to define his lameduck period. On this point I will agree with PEOB, Mr. President we have a crisis of historic proportions. It cannot wait until January 20,2009. It needs action and it needs it now. The thought processes to construct an effective plan need to be in place. If it means letting the PEBO team assume office before you leave then sobeit.

Please don't misconstrue this post to me I favor blind bailouts. I was calling the original plan a failout and still do. Everyone including Paul Kanjorski acted in haste to make the money available. Now it sits there like an able and willing player occupying the bench dying for the coach to put him in.

The auto industry was sent a strong message. Come back with a plan. Labor and management should be burning the midnight oils to author that document.

In 1990 and 1991 the Congress and the Senate took a $27,000 pay raise representing a 29.5% increase. Their raise was $4,100.00 this year. I believe the House and Senate can set an example by forgoing their raises this coming year as a symbolic joining with any union and management givebacks that will be necessary. With a shrinking economy there are going to be sacrifices all around, not just in the industries who are seeking help from the government. It is time to lead by example.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Whole World Is Mixing!

Russell Peters is one of my favorite comedians. This is a great routine on the whole world mixing.

More on Barack's Eloquent Delivery of Socialism

PEBO Back Peddling On Bush's Tax Cuts

PEBO(President-elect Barack Obama) and Company have sent signals that the Bush tax cuts which were part of his election theme will expire in 2011, the exact time George Bush said they would. In a previous piece I talked about the wealth among the Democrats in the House and the Senate. I knew he would never be able to deliver on that promise.

It is reported on ABCNews.go.com. "But, the adviser says, the overall debate is NOT about whether President-elect Obama will "restore fairness in our tax code" -- just about "whether it happens in the year after next or the year after that."

Mr. President-Elect, the tax code if printed and stacked would be the height of seven bibles laid one on top of each other. Restore fairness?? You have got to be kidding me. If you truly want to restore fairness repeal every law that was enacted as a special tax treatment for every individual and corporation. If you want to sell the public that taxing the wealthy is restoring fairness you are earning the reputation of being a socialist as discussed in the humanevents.com article.

Let's hear from Michelle on the topic of pie.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Democrat With A Sensible Republican Approach To Healthcare

In a perfect world there would be perfect solutions. Coming from the healthcare world it is known that 40 different healthcare systems exist on this planet. Not one of them is perfect.

In a very interesting piece appearing in the Wall Street Journal today Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee writes a great article about a solution he orchestrated in his state in an attempt to address the problem of the uninsured.

He pens the following: What I realized was this: Everyone proposing solutions or criticizing unfairness was doing so from the comfortable vantage point of having good health insurance. While we work to build a better system, wouldn't it also be responsible to find a way to get something -- not a perfect solution, not even a long-term solution -- into the hands of the more than 46 million uninsured Americans who don't share our good fortune?

We need a national health-insurance solution, but isn't it sensible in the meantime to make sure everyone has a basic health plan before we give a few more people a perfect but expensive one?

CoverTN, which began in 2006, is a health-insurance plan for those who are self-employed, or who work for small businesses that can't afford a traditional policy.

It is not free health care. Rather it is a limited plan with shared costs. In devising this plan, we didn't start out the usual way -- by defining what benefits we wanted -- but instead set how much we wanted to pay. And then we began a competitive-bidding process to see how much health care we could buy. We initially set the amount we would pay at an average of $150 a month, and split the responsibility for that premium three ways. The company would be responsible for $50, the individual for $50, and the state for the final $50.

The bidding was vigorous. It was ultimately won by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee with a benefit package that meets a great many -- not all -- of the real needs of the uninsured at a cost far below conventional plans.

At these premium levels -- less than half of what a conventional plan might cost -- the benefits are limited. But the benefit structure is also different than in a conventional plan. Most limited plans achieve their savings with high front-end deductibles, requiring a person to spend often thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before benefits kick in. But when we asked our customers -- uninsured Tennesseans -- what they actually wanted, we found that they were most interested in some help with the more common things; a doctor's visit, prescriptions, a short hospital stay.

CoverTN emphasizes covering these front-end costs. It features free checkups, free mammograms and $15 doctor visits without deductibles, for example. And it achieves its savings on the back end, with relatively low limits on hospital stays and an overall $25,000 benefit limit in any one year. It does not cover truly catastrophic events.

This makes medical sense. Good access to a doctor and a drugstore when you first have a problem can avoid a lot of cost and heartache later.

Tom Daschel's writings so far are not in this direction. He wants to create the same type of bureaucracy known as Medicare and Medicare Part D. Ask any senior who navigated the Medicare Part D maze about the experience. Each and every year seniors have to search for a plan. It is an exercise in futility.

Obama would do himself a favor if he took a good look at this Tennessee plan. So would the Democrats in Pennsylvania. One last quote from Bredesen, "This fall we added some benefits: The number of primary care visits doubled from six to 12, for example. Best of all, we added them without increasing rates. When did you last hear of a health-insurance plan whose annual update was a benefit improvement but no rate increase?"

Another fair and balanced piece.

Barack Obama- A Clintonite Outburst Watched Round The World

Mr. President-Elect Barack Obama,

During your election you championed the cause of change in Washington. A sign on your podium read "Change We Can Believe In." Yet, you have taken a course of appointing Clintonite retreads(cloned Clinton people from the past)into the core of your think tank and administration.

I think you are missing a big point. The Democrats chose you over Hillary Clinton. In effect they made it abundantly clear they didn't want her, her husband, or anyone associated with his administration. You are allowing the Clintons to lead you down a wrong path. Kryptonite has detrimental effects on Superman and other Kryptonians. Clintonites possess the same damaging effects on humans. Eric Holder represents a true Clintonite, complete with a full Clinton scandal under his belt.

When George W. Bush compromised with Democrats in an attempt to lower Federal deficits, he reneged on his promise not to raise taxes, hurting his approval rating. In a winning election strategy Clinton repeatedly condemned Bush for making a promise he failed to keep. You might want to consider that fact as you go forward.


The Nation

Project Labor Agreement

In an article that appeared in the Standard Speaker today "Elaine(Maddon)Curry said she wants to end the ongoing debate about construction labor agreements as much as anyone on the Hazleton Area School Board." There were numerous full page ads place in the SubStandard Speaker over the last couple of weeks urging passage of the PLA.

So I ask Elaine exactly what is a Project Labor Agreement? The Pennylvania Association of Builders and Contractors offers the following definition. A project labor agreement (PLA) is a signed commitment between the owner of the project (business or government)and area construction unions. These agreements generally require that a percentage of the workforce be hired from the specified labor union halls thereby prohibiting non-union employers (and employers whose employees are members of unions not signatory to the PLA) from utilizing its own employees on the project.


Yes, Project Labor Agreements, which significantly limit (and in some instances prohibit) the majority of the construction workforce which has chosen not to belong to labor unions from working on a construction project (sometimes a government funded taxpayer project), is clearly a blatant form of discrimination.

What amazes me about this proposal centers on the cost of healthcare? How can a government entity seek out the cheapest options in purchasing healthcare but neglect their fiduciary duty on construction projects? This proposal would force a ratio of eight union members to one non-union member.

There are ways for a government entity to determine the qualifications of employees hired by a contractor. Let's look at plumbing for example. A person desiring to become a master plumber must work for a certain period under the supervision of a master plumber before seeking the position of journeyman plumber. A journeyman plumber must work for a period before becoming a master plumber.

Pennsylvania does not license plumbers however counties and municipalities have the authority to do so. Here are two examples in Pennsylvania; one from the Allegheny County Health Department and the other from South Whitehall Township.

Elaine is quoted in the article as saying “Anyone with questions or research to do — do it,” “I want this off the table and when we vote it’s off the table.” That sounds quite authoritarian to me. The board is comprised of nine members. If any member decided to bring it back to the table the chairman cannot prevent it. Just a tidbit on Robert's Rules of Order. It is called a motion to rescind and it must pass by two thirds of the members present.

Qualifications, not unionization, determine the fitness for employment of any individual. There's your research.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama Makes Treasury Secretary Pick That Is On Target

Today, President-elect Obama appeared to make his first untainted nomination in Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Geithner was appointed to head the New York Federal Reserve on October 15, 2003. His appointment by the New York Federal Reserve Bank's Board of Directors was approved by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and announced by Mr. Peter Peterson, chair of the New York Federal Reserve Bank's Board of Directors and of the search committee that selected Mr. Geithner.

If you've been reading my blog I have been consistent that the problems with Washington are the Republicans and the Democrats, DemRepubagogues if you will. Peter Peterson wrote a book titled "Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It".

Here's a commentary to sum up the book-

"Peterson takes the role of an extraordinary flight attendant preparing 290 million passengers for a hard landing--but the landing he anticipates involves not jetliners hitting the tarmac but rather the entire American economy spiraling into insolvency. Basing his conclusions on one inescapable economic reality, Peterson argues that twin deficits in trade and government spending now require an astounding infusion of $4 billion in foreign capital every day just to avert economic meltdown in this country. And foreign investors are growing weary of propping up the U.S. economy while American political leaders ignore the perilously unbalanced government budget. Unfortunately, Peterson finds both major parties locked into pathologically rigid ideologies of denial. While Democrats push for ever-larger entitlements for ever-more interest groups, Republicans press for ever-deeper tax cuts. Neither party will initiate the reforms--succinctly outlined here by Peterson--essential to safeguard the country's long-term financial health. Sobering, urgent, and evenhanded. Bryce Christensen"

Let's pray that Daschle knows what the heck he is doing when he tries to fashion universal health care. More entitlement with no financial substance behind it will not serve any purpose for this country.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Washington Set Us Up For This

I have been rapid firing issues. Here is another that I think is important.

"U.S. power, influence will decline in future, report says Story Highlights
Report says China will have growing impact, second largest economy by 2025

There will be an unprecedented global transfer of power because of oil, report says

Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, will likely see power, desire for natural resources increase

"Unprecedented" growth means demand for basic resources will outweigh supply."

Hold Onto Your Wallets In Pennsylvania

From RockTheCapital.org here is a list of PA House members who did not repay the illegal pay raise from 2005.

House Members Who Will Not Repay: 25
• Rep. David Argall (R-Schuylkill)
• Rep. Louise Bishop (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Angel Cruz (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. H. William DeWeese (Greene)
• Rep. Robert Donatucci (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Todd Eachus (D-Luzerene)
• Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Rick Geist (R-Blair)
• Rep. Gary Haluska (D-Cambria)
• Rep. Harold James (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Bill Keller (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. George Kenney (R-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Keith McCall (D-Carbon)
• Rep. John Myers (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Frank Oliver (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. John Perzel (R-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Chris Sainato (D-Lawrence )
• Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster)
• Rep. John Taylor (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. W. Curtis Thomas (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Ronald Waters (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Jewell Williams (D-Philadelphia)
• Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D-Philadelphia)

Here is the new Democratic leadership come January 2009.

Rep. Todd A. Eachus, of Luzerne County, will succeed Rep. Bill DeWeese as majority leader at swearing-in ceremonies in January.

DeWeese, 58, damaged but not charged in the ongoing Bonusgate corruption investigation, announced last week that he would not vie for the leadership post that he has held since 1995. Instead, he sought the title of whip.

Democrats also nominated Rep. Keith McCall of Carbon County as speaker -- the chamber's top post. The full House will vote on who will fill that job in January when the new session begins.

In other races, Rep. Dwight Evans, of Philadelphia, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, retained his job unopposed, as did Rep. Mark Cohen, caucus chairman.

Here is what happened to the Republicans on that list.

For the second session in a row, Rep. John Perzel of Philadelphia, the former speaker, will remain out of the GOP leadership ranks. For weeks, he had lobbied fellow Republicans in a bid to replace Smith, but failed in the end.

Rep. Mario Civera of Delaware County was reelected ranking Republican of the Appropriations Committee, while Rep. Mike Turzai of Allegheny County was elected minority whip, replacing Rep. David Argall of Schuylkill County.

And this state gave more seats to the Democrats in this election. Are they nuts or what? Remember these are the same guys who also tried to raise their pay 22%.

The last time that happened on a federal level was 1989. Actually it was a 29.5% raise from $96,600.00 to $125,100.00 for the House of Representatives. You will never guess who voted for that raise. Oh yeaaahhh. None other than Paul Kanjorski.

The name of HR 3660 that passed and authorized the raise was "The Government Ethics Reform Act of 1989". Doesn't it just make you wee your extremities.

The Question To Ask Ford, Chrysler, and GM

The order of the Big 3 in that title is the order of their financial health according to United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger.

While Toyota may be struggling with a shrinking economic forecast it is still turning a profit. The people in Anna, Ohio seem to think Honda is doing well with its engine manufacturing plant.

["I don't think they should bail them out because ... obviously something's not right in the way they're running their business, and why should the American people have to bail them out if they can't figure out how to do it right?" September Quinn, the busy waitress, said after the lunch rush at the Inn Between.] I think September needs should be a consultant for the boards of the Big 3.

Ohh..the question. If your competitors are doing it right why should be help continue doing it wrong?

Did Joe Biden Understand Change You Can Believe In

In an article that appeared on ABCNews.Go.Com it appears that Joe Biden subscribes to the philosophy of politics as usual. Barack Obama has resigned his Senate seat. Joe Biden has yet to follow suit.

The outgoing Governor of Delaware is a Democrat but so is the incoming leader. So what's the big deal. It appears Biden is jockeying for position so his son, Beau Biden, eventually will mount that seat. Since when are Senate seats of the government of the United States of American legacy seats? Why do we tolerate legacy in a democracy?

"A similar maneuver was used to keep John F. Kennedy’s Senate seat in the family, and 48 years later, Ted Kennedy is still representing Massachusetts in the Senate.

But the timing of installing a Biden replacement could harm Delawareans: The newly elected senators will take office Jan. 3, and all will have seniority over Biden’s replacement if Biden stays in office beyond then."

Obama was an empty suit with empty promises. Anybody and anything that has to do with the Clintons are lining up and getting appointments. As the article states it's change Washington can believe in, not Change We Can Believe In.

Why Did We Eventually Play Ball on the PA Pay Raise Issue?

In these troubling economic times here is some great news from Harrisburg.

"Pennsylvania lawmakers have a scary budgetary hole to deal with in 2009.

On Wednesday, they learned exactly how much more they'll be paid trying to plug it.

House and Senate members will receive a 2.8 percent raise, setting lawmakers' base pay at $78,315.

The 30 legislative leaders will receive more. Their pay will range from $89,300 for caucus administrators, secretaries and policy-committee chairmen, to $122,254 for the speaker of the House and Senate president pro tempore.

The legislative raises will kick in Dec. 1. They will be based on the annual change in the federal Consumer Price Index for the Mid-Atlantic region for the 12-month period ending in October.

The same 2.8 percent increase is due judges statewide, though their raises won't take effect until Jan. 1.

The judiciary's pay will run from $191,876 for Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille to $161,850 for county judges and $80,927 for local magisterial district justices.

The cost-of-living adjustment also applies to Gov. Ed Rendell and his Cabinet secretaries, effective Jan. 1. Their new salaries were not available yesterday, but based on 2008 pay levels, the governor's salary would jump to $174,956.

Rendell said Wednesday he might consider suspending the executive-branch raises in keeping with his frugality plan. The plan was brought on by slumping state revenues that might finish the current fiscal year between $1 billion and $2 billion below projections.

Rendell did forego his automatic pay raise in 2004, shortly after he negotiated a pay freeze for all state workers under his jurisdiction. At that time, he also "recommended" that his Cabinet secretaries and senior staff members pass on their raises, and they did."

It's pretty amazing that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court makes more than the Governor of Pennsylvania. A Democratically controlled House is going to be the downfall of this state. The important question to ask of the Majority Leader and the Speaker is why they kept the pay raise even after it was repealed.

As I stated before, according to the 2004 census California had 35 million residents and Pennsylvania had 12 million. California has 120 total legislators. Pennsylvania has 256 legislators. Losing 171 legislators (1/3 of 256) would save the state a minimum of $13 million per year. That figure would greatly increase when you consider the staff, support personell, and benefits that would not be needed in such a streamlining effort. It's okay to laugh at the suggestion. But there are many people losing their jobs right now due to an economic downturn. Why should our government be spared from shrinking when its tax base is evaporating before its very eyes?

The only hope I see in this entire mess is that Tom Corbett continues in his quest to remove public officials who take advantage of public trust. Did we really become that complacent in our state to accept the pay raise issue as business as usual?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Say NO to Detroit

Before I delve into this topic I want everyone to know that I was a union member during college for 5 years. I saw firsthand how union can benefit as well as bankrupt a business. If you don't believe me I worked for Spaulding Bakeries. Having sad that I also saw how management that charts the course of a company sticking its head in the sand while enjoying lavish benefits could do more damage than any union's capability.

The bailout program passed by Congress to save the failing financial services sector has become the target of every major business in this country. Insurance companies are buying small banks so they can qualify as a financial institutions thereby qualifying for federal money from the financial rescue program. The insurance industry bought some of the subprime mortgage packages exposing them to losses, of course starting with the greed that came with high interest mortgages.

The Big 3 automakers went to Capital Hill yesterday to make their case for a portion of the bailout money. They called it a loan. The Big 3 CEOs had a PR problem from the moment they touched down in Washington. It seems they took private jets to ask for public money. That action is symbolic of the thought processes in the executive suites of each company.

David Yermack, a professor of finance at New York University's Stern School of Business, wrote a great essay on the need to let the Big 3 die a happy death. He discussed the two main arguments being used to justify some sort of bailout. "Two main arguments are being raised to justify a government rescue of the auto industry. First, large numbers of jobs may be at stake, perhaps as many as three million if one counts all the other firms that supply the Big Three. This greatly overstates the situation. Americans are not going to stop driving cars, and if GM, Ford and Chrysler disappear, other companies will expand to soak up their market share, adding jobs in the process. Many suppliers will also stay in business to satisfy the residual demand for spare parts even if the Detroit manufacturers go under. If the government wants to spend $25 billion to protect auto workers, it would do better to transfer the money to them directly (perhaps by cutting each worker a check for $10,000) rather than by keeping their unproductive employer in business."

Mitt Romney wrote an Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt".

"Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.

In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check."

When the automakers were faced with auto emission controls in the 1970's two things happened. The Japanese left the table, flew home, and starting working on meeting the standards. The American manufacturers left the table, flew home, and called their Congressmen to try to stop the legislation.

"Industry immediately said the standards could not be met. Lee Iacocca of Ford said that a one year extension was needed to “keep us in business for another year.” A General Motors executive named Ernie Starkman told the EPA that requiring catalytic converters on its 1975 MY vehicles would pose “unreasonable risk of business catastrophe” and could conceivably lead to “complete stoppage of the entire production.”

In response to the Clean Air Act, Lee Iacocca at Ford issued a press statement saying that the provisions “could prevent continued production of automobiles after January 1, 1975. Even if they do not stop production, they could lead to huge increases in the price of cars. They could have a tremendous impact on all of American industry and could do irreparable damage to the American economy. And yet, in return for all of this, they would lead to only small improvements in the quality of air.”

As it later turned out, auto industry cost estimates for the 1970s catalytic converter requirements were two times higher than the actual cost. Industry estimates claimed a price tag of nearly $3,000, but actual costs turned out to be only about $1,300.

In 1975, with the passage of the Environmental Policy and Conservation Act, CAFE
standards further changed the face of the American automobile, and led to reductions in size and weight to improve fuel economy. Fuel economy was increased by 40 to 50
percent by MY 1980. General Motors and Ford quickly filed protests, contending the standards would require new, unproven technologies and would negatively impact consumers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rejected the automakers’ claims and concluded that the standards could be met without a significant change in the mix of cars being sold."

The point of this piece centers on auto executives and the union both working against a solution to survive. Instead its time to go back to the government and get a bailout. I, for one, say no. In the shortterm there will be pain but in the long run the industry will be a stronger, more focused machine.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Republicans Turn In The Bonusgate Pit

In an email exchange I had with a fellow blogger I told him that I believe in fair and balanced reporting. Due to my volunteer work on the Barletta campaign I focused on the Democrats. Today it is the Republicans turn to face my research. I am a Republican who believes the only way we are going to change the party image is by cleaning it up for starters. In a Fox43 report new allegations surfaced that the PA House Republican leaders used a $9 million database paid for with Pennsylvania taxpayer's dollars for campaign purposes.

These "leaders" are either blind or stupid. They have a Republican Attorney General who arrests and convicts former House Member Jeff Habay, one of their own, in 2005 for basically the same crime.

"Corbett said the investigation, prosecution, conviction and prison sentence of former Republican Representative Jeff Habay in 2004 and 2005 by the Attorney General's Office for using his legislative staff for campaign and fundraising purposes should have put legislative leaders and their staffs on notice that the Attorney General's office and the courts take a stern view of such illegal activity."

Harrisburg, wake up. You were put on notice yet the arrogance continues.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Donovan McNabb's Stunning Admission

This one is for the G man over at Gort42. Donovan McNabb didn't know that NFL games could end in ties. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

Obama's Broken Promise No.3

According to an ABC news story things inside the Beltway are beginning to look a lot like...well business as usual:

"One of Obama's top transition team members, Thomas Donilon, oversaw an aggressive, backdoor lobbying campaign by mortgage giant Fannie Mae to undermine the credibility of a probe into the firm's accounting irregularities, according to a 2006 government report on the company.

The effort -- which reportedly included attacks on the funding for the oversight agency, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and an attempt to launch a separate investigation into OFHEO itself -- was ultimately unsuccessful, and regulators eventually discovered top Fannie Mae executives had been manipulating the company's financial reporting to maximize their bonuses.

Facing accusations of misstating its earnings from 1998 to 2004, Fannie Mae settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $400 million in 2006, although it did not admit any wrongdoing."

Faces change but the games continue. Obama's win was about marketing a brand not selling a substance.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama Broke His Promise

Tonight Obama said that he would raise the national debt if necessary. Why did he take this position about George Bush? Steve Kroft and the rest of the media is going to give him a Pass!!!

From ABC news:

"He suggested that the billions should be spent despite the effect it would have on the country's deficit.

"We shouldn't worry about the deficit next year or even the year after. That short term, the most important thing is that we avoid a deepening recession," Obama said.

I thought he campaigned against George Bush's debt. The backpeddling has already started.

Ed Mitchell Admits Paying Camerman to Follow Lou Barletta

But does the story end there.

My peer, Gort, once requested in his blog that if anyone knew Lou Barletta's campaign whereabouts let him know and he would post it. I was almost tempted to answer that request from May 21, 2008. However, circumstances known to me prevented releasing information ahead of time.

Lou Barletta was confronted by at least five camera-toting persons during this election at any given time at his campaign office, City Hall, Funfest, Scranton City Council, various speaking engagements like the American Legion in Wilkes Barre, and fundraisers including one at Damon's in Hazleton(I will post a special story on this one) plus a private, invitation only affair at the Stegmaier Manson.

It appears Ed Mitchell was so desparate in his quest to get Paul Kanjorski re-elected that he allowed and permitted himself to transcend levels lower than a snake. His first political commercial proffered Paul was a family man with "middle class values". Ed didn't waste any time to destroy the Barletta family, the DeAngelo famly, and all the friends and employees involved with subsequent commercials. Ed, those are not the values my parents taught me. The first question to Ed Mitchell...Did Paul know you paid someone to harass, videotape, and follow Lou Barlettta?

I will publicly name the photographers that went after Lou because I have photographs of them to back me up. The first person to approach Lou with a camcorder was identified as Mike Quinn, a bartender at The Bog in Scranton. You can see his work as LoserLou2008 on Youtube.com. Unfortunately for Mike an employee of Lou's campaign readily recognized him when the campaign captured pictures of him. There's a CIA saying. Don't worry about who you are watching, worry about who is watching you.

Ed Mitchell made the claim that these people were only sent to fundraisers. As you will see videographers showed up at official City Hall business which had nothing to do with the campaign.

If you visit Mike's Youtube page you will see a girl who I refer to as Lucy Lu. She claimed to be an aspiring journalism student but, wow, did she have her facts screwed up. You can read a post on the Youtube site that expalins the meaning of that sentence. She was the second to confront Lou in her failed attempt to get a "gotcha" moment. It was curious that both of them throughout the rest of the campaign remained in obscurity.

One young man showed up at Scranton City Hall to videotape Lou during a speaking engagement. The campaign has pictures of him but were unable to identify the videographer.

The next person, who is featured in the Times Leader story, was Joseph Van Wie, part owner of Agapic Films. Ironically the company's first film was titled "Gentleman Jack." Mr. Van Wie filled out a volunteer card and asked for a yard sign as part of his infiltration into the Barletta campaign. Watergate comes to mind.

At the Stegmaier event Joe was noticed hiding in some bushes. Campaign personnel brought Lou's car around the back of the mansion to try to avoid him. When Joe noticed Lou was leaving by a different route he jumped out of the bushes and proceeded to chase after Lou's car. He shouted "Mayor, Do you think you are sexy?" I would say not Joe's brightest moment in filming.

One late afternoon Lou and Vince Galko, his campaign manager, were driving in Scranton coming from an event when they noticed Van Wie sitting at the counter of a local eatery. He spotted the car outside the window and pretended he was videtaping them with his hands. It was a light-hearted moment for both as each took it in stride. Lou and Vince both smiled and laughed at Joe's humor. Joseph Van Wie commented to Vince at one point in the campaign that his candidate was good because he was not finding the "gotcha" moment he NEEDED.

Here are two pictures from Funfest 2008 in Hazleton showing Joe Wie following Lou. Joe is seen at the immediate left of Lou's left shoulder wearing the yellow hat. Take notice that Joe was following Lou at the Funfest event, yet another example of Lou acting in his official capacity of Mayor of Hazleton. These pictures do not corroborate Ed Mitchell's story. At the end of this piece I am posting more pictures so the reader can get a real flavor for Ed Mitchell's lies.

If you go to Open Secrets at this link you will see a campaign expenditure for AGAPIC Films for $9,420.00. Let's hold Paul's feet to the fire. Paul, why would you let your media guy stoop to such a distasteful tactic? Lou's wife was with him at times. If you weren't a part of this I believe it is time you come out and say so. Otherwise, to me, you were as complicit as all get out. How is this episode going to play out among your peers in Washington? Was this tactic their suggestion? Did Nancy Pelosi grant permission for a tracker to be deceiving including wearing the opponents campaign button? Or was Rahm Emanuel the strategist?

In the next edition I will write about Accountability Moments, Michael Stark, and his visit to Damon's restaurant after coming all the way from Virginia.

Here are the pics.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Voting Irregularities? You Decide

According to a National Campaign for Fair Elections publication they have the following to say about persons who come to the polling booth but are unable to read or write the language:

"Any voter requiring assistance at the polls for any of these reasons must have a declaration recorded upon her/his registration card that, by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write, s/he is unable to read the names on the ballot or on the voting machine labels, or that s/he has a physical disability that renders him/her unable to see or mark the ballot or operate the voting machine, or to enter the voting compartment or voting machine booth without assistance. The exact nature of the voter’s condition must be recorded on the registration card. The voter will only be allowed to receive assistance if the election officers are satisfied that she/he still suffers from the same condition. A voter who is entitled to receive assistance under these provisions will be permitted to select a person of the voter’s choice (except the judge of elections, the voter’s employer or an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of the voter’s union) to enter the voting compartment or voting machine booth with him/her to assist him/her in voting."

There are widespread reports that people were offering assistance in the voting booth throughout Luzerne County without having the proper documentation. Judges of Elections were not requiring a Declaration of Assistance card to be on file or filled out at the time of signing in to vote even after notification of the requirement. What did you notice in your polling place?

George Bush vs. Barack Obama Elections Update

As an update to my post on the slight differences between the Obama election and George Bush's re-election of 2004 I wanted to list the population estimates for each year. In 2004 the population of the U.S. is estimatedto be 293,655,404 . In 2008 the population estimated increase rose to 305,645,134. Almost 12 million people were added to our nation in just 4 years. If you look at George Bush's popular vote figures vs. Barack Obama's most of the difference can be accounted for due to population growth, not a shift in philosophy.

Mark my words. The Democrats are going to push for amnesty as a way to increase their voting base, not because it is right for America. Our increase in healthcare costs, educational costs, etc. can be directly linked to increases in utilization as a result of the 1986 amnesty.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pennsylvania is Okay For Gas Exploration But for Obama Utah and Montana are Off Limits

Here is the kinda crap I read everyday. Below is an article about the state of Pennsylvania leasing state lands for gas exploration.

"At a press conference Thursday, the governor(Ridge) called the total $190 million in high lease bids submitted by oil and gas companies a positive development when Pennsylvania has economic troubles. As state tax revenues drop, Mr. Rendell recently put a state government hiring freeze in effect.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources opened the competitive bids earlier this month from companies seeking drilling access to 74,000 acres of state forest land in Tioga, Lycoming and Clinton counties. This leased acreage covers about 4 percent of the 2.1 million acres of state forest land."

Then I read this garbage in the Mercury News. "Among the best is Obama's opportunity to overturn some of Bush's worst executive orders... Obama shouldn't wait long to stop the federal Bureau of Land Management from opening about 360,000 acres in Utah to oil and gas drilling. The president-elect's transition chief, John Podesta, told reporters Sunday that Obama regards the acreage as too environmentally fragile to support drilling."

Has anybody bothered to look out the window in Pennsylvania? Envrionmentally fragile??

The 19 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) lies in the northeast corner of Alaska. The entire refuge lies north of the Arctic Circle and 1,300 miles south of the North Pole.

The Coastal Plain area, comprising 1.5 million acres on the northern edge of ANWR, is bordered on the north by the Beaufort Sea, on the east by the U.S. Canadian border, and on the west by the Canning River. The Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (both Alaska Native corporations) own 94,000 acres in the Coastal Plain surrounding the village of Kaktovik.

You can watch this movie to see that the area they are talking about exploring for oil is barren land. Prudoe Bay, which lies 100 miles west of ANWR taught the Inuits that responsbile oil and gas exploration and development can coexist in their homeland.