Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Obama's First 100 Days

Today marks the 100th day of the Obama Administration. While comparisons are being made around the country by various media outlets, I have read one local and one national blogger regarding the new president and his leadership.

Good friend, Greg Maresca, opines weekly in his column Talking Points published in the News-Item. Here is Maresca's article published on April 26th.

A brief snip reads:

At their recent conference, Hugo Chavez and Nicaragua’s Marxist President Daniel Ortega condemned the United States, then Chavez handed Obama Chavez’s leftist tirade of a book and all our president could muster was, “It was a nice gesture to give me a book. I’m a reader.” At least he didn’t bow like he did with the Saudis.
Those pictures above are not edited. They are from the AP. Here is Bob Cesca's Blog on the "Chop Square" photo's seen above.

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich puts reality into focus with little cheerleading.

What does all this mean for the good old Central Susquehanna Valley? On the ground here, jobs loss started to hemorrhage a few years ago with the closing of Paper Magic and most recently Fleetwood. Just across the river, Pennsylvania House shut it's doors just to name one. Several home builders closed.

The sign around will be more clear about this time next year when most unemployment benefits will expire and bills have to be payed.

I don't envy the Obama adminstration. With a little over a month before the election, the world banking crisis nearly took the whole system down. Most of the banks disclosures came between election and inauguration. Now you add the problems for the US automakers and Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, any given day could be a problem.

Who do you want answering the phone?

Specter Now a Democrat

Specter's Statement

April 28, 2009

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank especially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

Sam Swank Signs With Philadelphia Eagles

Sam Swank from Wake Forest University signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles as a kicker.

He is the son of Gary and Sheila Swank. He is also the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Swank of Shamokin Township. If fully recovered from injury look for him to push David Akers in camp. Either way, Swank's strong leg got him a shot at the NFL, now consistency has to take over to let him stay in the league.

Growing up in Florida and playing at Wake Forest, his ability to kick in the cold can come into question. Good luck to Sam and congratulations to the Swank family.

Bye, Bye Pontiac!!!

With the restructuring of GM, Pontiac Motors seems to on the chopping block and making a curtain call. Some of the cars rolled out in the last 45 years include the GTO, Trans AM, Grand AM and Grand Prix.

John Z. DeLorean was part of the Pontiac Division at one time and went to establish DeLorean Motor Cars. The car was made famous in Back to the Future movies.

I owned an '88 and '93 Grand Am. I bought the 88 used and the 93 brand new. Both had almost identical alternator problems. The tranny in the '88 went out at 120,000 miles. In the '93 the air conditioning went out at 35,000. The electrial system broke down at 80,000. I sold it to buy an Intrepid.

Cars that I owned in the last 20 years are looking to become extinct. My college car was an AMC Spirit. American Motors gone!!! Two Pontiac's and they are going, going gone. I still have an Intrepid in the driveway. Chrysler is hanging on by a thread.

The least amount of headache is a the family Subaru Forrester. The common denominator of problems to me with US cars happen around 75,000 miles. Most of mine have been air and electrical with the Greand Am's and Chrysler Product. Is anyone listening????????

You might here some nostalgic airplay of this song in the upcoming months.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's Not Torture if a Cheney Says So

Bike for Bob Turns 5 This Saturday

Bike for Bob, a charity bike ride in the memory of Dr. Robert Bernstein, holds their 5th ride on Saturday starting at 10:30 am.

The money raised from the bike ride supports the construction of a 12 mile bike trail in Union County, PA. Here is the article from the Daily-Item.

I will be riding this Saturday. I didn't ride the first due to heavy rain and inexperience. Last year I was scheduled to umpire softball.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Remembering Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman was killed in action five years ago today in Afghanistan under "friendly fire". His spirit still lives on.

Felmy Watch

Bobby Felmy was in a 1 for 20 mini slump with his last game being on April 19th against Trenton. According to a Defender blogger he should be on the roster for a make-up twinbill today.

David Shinskie was also roughed up in his last outing pitching two thirds of an inning giving up four earned runs, 3 hits and one walk. His old team, the Rock Cats, scored 11 runs in the inning. Shinskie actually left the allowing one of his runners to score with two outs. The pitcher that replaced Shinskie with two outs, allowed Shinskie's other three runners to score.

With the rain this week, Shinskie hasn't pitched since April 19th.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Philly Trifecta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is that time of the year of where you could have more than two Philadelphia sports teams playing on the same day. On Sunday, the Phillies, Flyers, and 76ers all won with the Flyers and Sixers winning playoff games.

The Phillies rallied from 4-0 down to win in the ninth on Raul Ibanez's walk off home run. The Sixers rallied from 18 down to win by two over Orlando. Let's hope the teams have a better Monday through Saturday performances.

Shamokin Fires AD

Shamokin severed all ties with AD Nick Celinscak. In 7 months at Shamokin, Celinscak was suspended once in December and once just recently before being let go. It was Celinscak's report that led to the dismissal of football coach Dave Zielinskie.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea-bagging Can Be Fatal!!!!!!

A Sunbury woman nearly drowns Susquehanna River throwing tea into it. While the woman was exercising her Constitutional right, the result could have been tragic. One great thing to applaud was the effort of the rescue and emergency workers.

In another Northumberland County Tea-Bagging, a retired teacher who was a congressional candidate last year speaks to the masses.

Where were these people when we plunked down 750 billion on a war???

Monday, April 13, 2009

Celebrating Harry Kalas

No matter how many times the people try to tear it apart, baseball just keeps coming back stronger. Today one of the great caretakers of the game passed away in the broadcast booth before the start of today's game with the Washington Nationals.

There are a million Harry Kalas stories, but I would like to share mine. My dad and I didn't have much in common, we like to hunt, sometimes together and we like to root for the Phils if they didn't tear out heart in the end.

It goes back to my childhood, growing up a few houses away from the baseball diamond playing out game all day while either going to little league practice our watching a good adult softball game at night. When the sun went down or the softball game came to an end it was time to listen to a small transistor tuned into WISL 1480 AM in Shamokin, PA and hear one familiar voice. It was the voice of Harry the K.

I heard his call of the Mike Schmidt 4-homer game in the wild one at Wrigley in April of 1976 and Pete Rose extend his hitting streak in 1978. The audience was always the same. It was my dad, me and the family pooch with the echo of crickets in summertime in Pennsylvania.

On the field, before a Philles game in the 1990's, I made eye contact with Harry and struck up a conversation. I did get to tell him how he was like a family member on those broadcasts with my fathers nearly 20 year earlier. He appreciated the conversation and what I had told him. Longtime Phillie personality and former manager Dallas Green, who was on the field for a charity softball game, cracked some jokes about Harry having a fan club.

Deep down Harry loved the players and the fans. Without know the players, he couldn't sell it to the fans. Without any fans, we don't have the great game of baseball. Harry understood that.

As for his announcing he is also know for his longtime friendship with the late Richie "Whitely" Ashburn. He had a good natured ribbing of Whitey and some of his golf exploits, never didn't he question Ashburn on his career or baseball knowledge.

When Ashburn's daughter Jan died in a car accident in April, 1987, the Philadelphia Daily News published on April 28th "Smile with me for Jan," written by Ashburn. By dumb luck, I read the article that day and was moved by a father's love for his daughter and eulogizing her for the public to see. Later that night, Kalas acknowledged to Whitey what Philadelphia had read earlier in the day about his broadcast partner, but more importantly his friend, grieving father Richie Ashburn.

Ben Franklin, Rocky, Richie Ashburn, Wilt Chamberlain, Chuck Bednarik, Steve Van Buren, Bobby Clarke, now add Harry Kalas to the list.

"Outta Here"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Harry Kalas dies at 73

In the second sad baseball story of 2009, Phillie Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas passed away at the age of 73 earlier this afternoon. More on this story later.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Baseball is Back!!!!!

While baseball is welcome sign from the long, icy, and cold winter, the tragedy that happened this week is not. Just hours after pitching a scoreless six innings, Los Angeles Angel pitcher Nick Adenhart's life was taken away by a drunk driver.

A story that really touched me is the thought of his little league through high school battery mate, David Warrenfeltz told here by Mark Kriegel. It is a story told a thousand times across America. Of all the kids playing baseball when they are 12, ONE has all the tools to make it to the top. They are admired by teammates, but hated but the competition. In the end when there the last guy who has a chance to make it, they are cheered. Warrenfeltz, Adenhart's long time catcher, said that he probably would have played in college if it wasn't for the scout's looking at Nick. Warrenfeltz's career was winding down at Maryland, Baltimore-County as Adenhart was beginning to reach for the sky.

I was fortunate enough to see a contemporary of mine make it to the majors in Frank Bolick. I even had greater fortune in talking to him before a game at the old Vet in Philadelphia. I also got to see locals in Mike Mussina, Chris Nabholz and Steve Kline make it to the top and represent the area as fierce competitors.

Now I cheer for Dave Shinskie and Bobby Felmy to make to the top. Both are now in the AA Eastern League. Shinskie and Felmy who played on a all-star team together will go against each other on Tuesday when their teams meet.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

March Madness Decompression

As I slowly decompress from Villanova's Final Four run, I will try to get back to more blogging about other topics.

First and foremost, Northumberland County is trying to give Luzerne County a run in the headline department.

We had officers of the court and a county commissioner at odds once again.

While the warden being shown the door, the deputy warden's job has yet to be filled.

Guard suspended without pay.

Plus in a sad case, a death at a private juvie detention center.


Job Fair held but attendance is down?

Speaking to a friend who was in attendance and lost his job at Fleetwood, the event was a waste of his time. No one was hiring anyway.

Knight-Celotex in Sunbury files Chapter 11.

Let hear a big round of applause for Bank of America who received a bailout of their own, but choose to freeze a line of credit.


I have been pretty busy umpiring girls high school softball. I had the opportunity to work this gem.

Thank you in advance, PPL.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Villanova's Run is Over

It has taken me a while to decompress from the 'Nova loss on Saturday night. I guess I was seeing a little too much 1985 and some Hoosiers. When you look at the big picture, UNC was definately the better team.

If you would have asked me about the Final Four in December, I would have said your dreaming. It was nice to see Cunningham doing his best Ed Pinckney and team that was better than the sum of their parts.

With a top five recruiting class coming in and Villanova back in the national limelight, Jay Wright's success only seem ahead of him. Things can be cruel in college basketball. What happened to Pitt could happen to us, we could be on the other end of Georgetown, etc.

It has taken championship efforts to knock us out:

North Carolina (2005)
Florida (2006)
Kansas (2008)
UNC (2009?)
Let's Go 'Nova!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

What if Sumpter Played in 2005?

Sumpter at Bucknell in 2005